Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd, a solar equipment maker that recently relocated to Toronto from Calgary, may soon land its first large-scale orders in its new home province, the world's newest go-to region for solar power.
The company, whose shares have risen 150 percent in the past year, also expects to announce a tie-up soon with a top European solar panel maker to supply the Ontario market with thin-film panels carrying Sustainable Energy's power inverters, its chief executive said on Monday.
Inverters are key components of power systems that turn the sun's rays into electricity as they convert the direct current output generated by the solar panels into the alternating current that the power grid runs on.
We have been approaching the major thin-film suppliers in Europe. ... We have developed substantive relationships with those European suppliers, which are major names in the market place, said Chief Executive Officer Robert Bucher.
We expect to have an announcement soon on that for the Ontario marketplace, he told Reuters in an interview.
Ontario last October launched the most comprehensive and generous set of feed-in tariffs in North America, piquing the interest of Canadian and foreign renewable energy companies at a time when Europe is starting to roll back its support for the sector.
Ontario's incentives guarantee sellers of electricity produced from the sun and other renewable sources fixed, above-market prices for 20 years, with the rooftop solar industry -- Sustainable Energy's main market -- getting some of the most mouth-watering rates.
We see Ontario as taking over most of our investment this year and next year even though we will continue in Spain and Greece, Bucher said.
Sustainable Energy, which sells its inverters in Spain and Eastern Europe, is a small fish in a big pond housing competitors like Germany's SMA Solar Technology AG, the world's No.1 inverter company with more than 50 percent of the market.
But the 11-year-old Canadian company, which started off life in the fuel cell industry, has won some fans who like its technology. Unlike most competitors' systems, Sustainable's cuts out the need to have an inverter on every solar panel, which is expensive.
We definitely think it's the most compelling inverter out there in the market right now, said Khurram Malik, research analyst at Jacobs Securities, a Toronto-based renewable energy brokerage.
Sustainable Energy recently moved its head office from Calgary to Toronto to take advantage of Ontario's lucrative green energy incentives.
It plans to have a production facility up and running in Ontario by the summer producing 60 megawatts of power. It expects to double capacity to 120 MW in 2011.
Bucher expects the first Ontario orders for commercial rooftop systems of 200 kilowatts or higher in the next few days or weeks, a step toward the company's targeted revenue this fiscal year of between C$40 million ($38.4 million) and C$60 million.
That is a massive increase on 2009's revenue of just C$82,443.
Sustainable Energy's stock closed down 1 Canadian cent, or 2.86 percent, at 34 Canadian cents on the TSX Venture Exchange on Monday.
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant; Editing by Frank McGurty)