Summerside could see solar-panel business open

Nancy MacPhee nmacphee@journalpioneer.com
Published on February 21, 2016

Integrated Power Systems

Neway Argaw, CEO of Integrated Power Systems, looking at inexpensive place for manufacturing

SUMMERSIDE – Neway Argaw sees potential in Summerside, so much so that he’s considering setting up a solar-panel manufacturing plant within its boundaries.

Argaw, the CEO of Integrated Power Systems and a leading authority on solar energy, was in the city recently touring businesses, meeting with Mayor Bill Martin and the provincial government, including representatives from Energy P.E.I.

“One of the advantages of manufacturing here in Canada is because of the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement ) and the tariff the U.S. government has for countries like China and Taiwan,” said Argaw.

With a contract secured in Africa requiring “millions of solar panels,” the businessman is looking to Summerside as an inexpensive place for manufacturing. Other advantages are the low Canadian dollar and a ready workforce.

He is also looking at distributing Omniflow wind turbines from Summerside.

“The city is more than 100 per cent supportive and they are behind our ideas and they want to do everything possible to help us,” said Argaw.

His visit was on the city’s dime, costing “a couple of housand dollars,” which is money already in the economic development department’s budget, the mayor said. He also said the city's investiment in the venture would be "nothing."

Argaw toured Vector Aerospace, met the owner of Renewable Lifestyles and met with representatives of Energy P.E.I., Finance P.E.I. and Innovation P.E.I. in Charlottetown.

He was impressed by what he saw and the reception he received.

“You get all the benefits when you go to a small province, the hospitality there and also the support,” said Argaw. “It is not easy to knock on doors of big city mayors. Sometimes you only get a chance to see them for five, 10 minutes.”

He didn’t want to divulge much about his meeting with the province, only to say he made a presentation about his business model.

Martin said if Argaw’s plans do come to fruition, the CUMI building where the businesses will be based “won’t be big enough.”

Argaw also looked at other options and spaces in the city. He offered to replace the city’s existing streetlights with LED lights, which the city “may or may not accept.”

Martin is optimistic about Argaw’s interest in the city and his future here.

“It’s good news for Summerside.”