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Guelph company gets $8 million from feds for next generation solar panels

Minister of the Envionment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna made the announcement at Canadian Solar on Thursday

Guelph solar panel producer Canadian Solar got an $8 million boost from the federal government on Thursday.

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate change Minister Catherine McKenna visited the company Monday to announce the funding for production of next-generation solar panels that will be 20 per cent more energy efficient.

The money will be spread out over three years.

The funding is expected to create 50 additional full-time jobs at the company's Speedvale Avenue location, said Mike Carter, director of corporate development for Canadian Solar.

"We always talk about how the environment and the economy go hand-in-hand and this is a perfect example right here in Guelph," McKenna said.

"We know that climate change is real and we're feeling the impacts ... but we also know the solutions and certainly solar is one of the solutions."

McKenna said the money is targeted at one-of-a-kind, higher density solar panels.

She also took the moment to take a swipe at Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

"It's unfortunate, and I know that this has hit Canadian Solar, that decisions made by the Ford government to go backwards instead of forwards in terms of action on climate change, are hurting people and hurting our economy.

"We know what the issues are and we know what the solutions are. This should not be a partisan issue, taking action on climate change."

McKenna said the funds come through the federal government's Natural resource Canada energy innovation program that recognizes innovation in clean energy technologies that are affordable, reliable and sustainable.

"Great news today," said Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield at the announcement.

"We're ensuring that economic prosperity and environmental protection will go, and will continue to go, hand-in-hand," Longfield said.

"We're making generational investments in Canada's green growth future."

Longfield said the money is aimed at a Canadian-made product aimed at Canadian markets.

Canadian Solar operates in 24 countries on six different continents.