Some good news for the city of Welland and its residents. Being among the first with a photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing facility is an important step in reclaiming Welland's industrial heritage. It is an economy that can fuel its own growth, more affordable electricity has always led to higher electricity consumption - in this case it means a nearly perpetual market for more new panels.
Start powering lights, then motors, then heaters. We do not need to grow trees and burn them for heat, with the same space we will be able to bank enough solar energy to power more efficient and clean electrical heaters. Motors can focus on efficiency and durability as electric motors can be made with copper or in some special applications silver it will drive not only our cars but our mining and recycling industries. Finally, between solar panels and LEDs we can eliminate nearly all of the inefficiencies and finite resource issues. Brighter, Faster, Warmer, Longer.
As a long time user of solar panels and supporter of solid state solutions (solar, transistors, LEDs, etc.) I'm glad that Welland is going to participate in this enormous new economy. I hope that the manufacturer has open sales policies to buy direct, one of the greatest obstacles has been the old brick and mortar business model increasing costs and keeping knowledgeable consumers away from the products they want. It's easier to discuss buying large quantities in a business setting when it is easy and affordable to buy them for home use (see Cars, Computers, Cell Phones as examples).
Aside from my other wishes I'd love to see the first solar panel off of the assembly line in front of the factory powering something simple - like a light for a sign. Then it would show every employee, customer, and resident of Welland that as long as the first panel works every subsequent panel will too*. If I get a call I'd enjoy helping a project like this.
* When installed and configured according to adequate standards. But then again, isn't that what a engineer/product designer is for.