Solar panel company Siliken lays off 40 in Windsor

Another manufacturer in the green energy sector has slashed its workforce in Windsor, Ont.
Siliken officials said regulations in Ontario forced the layoffs. (CBC News)

Another manufacturer in the green energy sector has slashed its workforce in Windsor, Ont. and is blaming the government.

Siliken Renewable Energies has laid off 40 people, the equivalent of one shift, at its solar panel manufacturing facility.

Siliken production manager Paco Caudet blamed the cuts on government regulations and a lack of market.

Caudet said it takes too long for people to apply and get approved for solar panel projects in Ontario.

Last year, however, Caudet and Siliken production manager Richard Monk blamed the PCs for woes in the solar industry.

"I think the PC government should think again before they try to renege on any previous agreements because it will backfire and we will lose jobs, investments, and other countries will be hesitant to invest in our country," Monk told CBC News in 2011.

At that time, Caudet lauded Liberal policy.

"I think renewable energy is here for the long run and it's just a question of seeing how those policies are implemented, and Left or Right will have different approaches to it," Caudet told CBC News last year.

Company president Carlos Navarro in 2011 called Windsor is an ideal location in part because of its skilled workers who have a background in the automotive industry.

Siliken opened in May 2011.

When it opened its Windsor production facility, it employed 50 people. Two months later, Silken employed 120 people and laid off 70 of them in early early July 2011.

Wind turbine company blows out of town

Siliken is not the only green energy facility struggling in Windsor.

In March of this year, wind turbine manufacturer WindTronics closed up shop after two years in operation.

The company’s president said the provincial feed in tariff (FIT) program was not working for him, so he's moving the business to Michigan.

Ontario pays up to 80.2 cents a kilowatt hour for small rooftop solar power and 13.5 cents per kWh for wind power.

The province gave WindTronics $2.7 million to open in Windsor.  The company promised there would be 200 workers in the plant by the end of this year.

Both announcements came not long before the province raised its electricity rates.

Ontario residents will pay more for electricity starting Tuesday.

A typical household using 800 kilowatt hours a month will see the 'electricity' line on their hydro bill increase by nearly $6, while consumers using smart meters — or time-of-use pricing — will see an increase of about $4.


  • Siliken did not receive $7 million from the Ontario government. Siliken invested $7 million in the solar plant in Windsor, Ont.
    May 01, 2012 2:45 PM ET