May 16, 2020

Telesat to select the manufacturer for its LEO satellite constellation

Sophie Chapman
2 min
Canadian firm reviewing manufacturing applications for broadband
The Canadian satellite communications firm, Telesat, has announced that it is reviewing applications to manufacture its broadband satellite constellatio...

The Canadian satellite communications firm, Telesat, has announced that it is reviewing applications to manufacture its broadband satellite constellation.

The firm are anticipating to select and announce the manufacturing firm in the next few months.

The Telesat LEO project aims to introduce universal and cost effective connectivity through a 117 satellite constellation.

The announcement was made at the Canadian SmallSat Symposium on 15 February.

“We’re getting close now to making some decisions as to how we’re going to proceed,” stated Erwin Hudson, Vice President of Telesat LEO.

“We’re hoping to make some announcements here in the next couple of months.”


One of the project was launched in two stages – in November 2017 and January 2018.

The first satellite launched in November of last year was built by The Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.

The satellite was lost, along with 18 others, due to the Fregat upper stage firing in the wrong direction, resulting in the technology deorbiting into the North Atlantic Sea.

The second launch, which happened last month, was successful – it was built by Surrey Satellite Technology in the UK and was sent off from an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

When the satellite reaches its final orbit, Telesat will use it to conduct tests, for both their own systems and for potential users.

“We’ve got a lot of interest from the customer community about doing testing,” Hudson added.

“For much of the second half of the year we’ll be doing testing for customers and partners to show what it’s capable of doing.”

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Jul 30, 2021

First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector

Elise Leise
3 min
First Solar will launch an advanced PV manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu to support Indian solar independence

First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV. 


Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’. 

A Bit of Background 

First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules


The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about. 

How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?

Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’. 


After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’. 


According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin. 


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