RAY OF LIGHT
- An Expert's Opinion -
#11: CPS Glass – Solar with a Clear Conscience
This week, we sat down for a chat with Glenn Leroux, President & CEO of Canadian Premium Sand (CPS).
CPS is poised to fill a void in the North American solar supply chain.
Hi, Glenn! Can you tell us a little more about CPS?
CPS is setting up an integrated facility to manufacture high-quality patterned solar glass right here in Canada. We wanted to leverage our position; as the name says we already have the right raw materials in hand to provide the market with what it needs, especially a growing market.
North America is seeing exponential growth in solar installations and solar is increasingly the renewable of choice for new projects.
We investigated both the architectural glass market and the solar glass market and it became obvious that solar was the best fit for our high purity sand and provided the best commercial opportunity. Currently about 80% of solar panels manufactured in North America use high-spec ultra-clear patterned glass, and yet all of the patterned glass is imported. Why should it continue to be imported when the raw material and energy exist here?
We have done our lab work on the sand and we know what we need to do to produce solar patterned glass with high transmissivity. We have no issues matching the high standards set by a competitive industry.
How is CPS competing with current solar glass manufacturers in the market?
Firstly, there is currently no patterned glass manufacturer in North America; most of the manufacturers supplying the market are based in Asia, mainly in China. Because of proximity, we will be able to supply the North American solar market with. one of the essential components in solar panels, door to door in under 3 days. We know that the solar supply chain has been plagued by freight costs and logistics issues, so being on the same continent means we can supply to domestic panel makers at the shortest time and lowest total cost.
Secondly, we have another tremendous cost advantage; we own the main resource in the manufacturing process – the high purity silica sand. Our sand quarry is only about 160km from our manufacturing facility in Selkirk, Manitoba. And not having to rely on external resources also means we can better manage uncertainties that manufacturers normally face with raw materials supply like quality and cost.
Another edge we have over our competition will be sustainability. We can beat other current manufacturers hands down because of our low carbon footprint. In fact, it will be lowest in the world at our factory gate. We will rely on natural gas for our furnace and 100% renewable hydropower; so no coal! With this, we will be able to offer our customers and the end-users the ESG-compliance they are seeking to take them closer to net zero goals.
Recently WeChat-based GlobalPV made an analysis in their *article about the future of solar glass. What do you make of their forecast of an oversupply of PV glass in 2022? Do you think it will affect your plans?
While there is certainly potential for Asian solar glass manufacturing to continue its fast pace of expansions, we see significant growth as well in solar glass demand in the Asian Pacific markets as a result of net zero commitments and decarbonization targets.
North America typically makes up approximately 5% of patterned solar glass sales for Asia Pacific manufacturers and as a result is considered a premium market for sales. In addition, majority of glass capacity expansions will have a barrier to entry in the North American markets due to tariffs placed on imports from certain regions including China, not to mention the need to transport that glass a significant distance.
Lastly, with a typical lead time of 18 to 24 months for building a glass manufacturing facility, future additional capacity will likely track solar installation growth closely to achieve a balance in the long-term. Our facility is expected to be in operation by Q4 of 2024 and is expected to supply approximately 20% of the fast growing market in North America.
And so what are CPS’ plans now moving forward?
We are currently targeting Q4 2024 for the start of production. We have 12 months to secure all financing and regulatory approvals, followed by about 18 months of construction of the quarry and manufacturing facility. Thereafter there should be 4-6 months of standard testing before we go to market. Stay tuned!
*GlobalPV article: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/KP0camI7bJXriq6DlKbflw
For more information about CPS Glass, you may wish to contact their team:
Glenn Leroux, President & CEO
Anshul Vishal, VP, Business Development
Should you have any feedback and/or comments, OR if you wish to contribute, please write to us at Farahdian.Aziz@ssx.com.sg. We hope you have enjoyed the read!