The solar panel industry has been in tumult for the past few years, and few know that better than Martin Pochtaruk.
He runs a company called Heliene, whose manufacturing operations in Canada were crushed in 2018 by U.S. tariffs on solar panel imports. Pochtaruk pivoted a big chunk of his company’s production to the United States, taking over the former home of a failed Minnesota solar panel maker in Mountain Iron.
Heliene, which continues operating its original plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is a small player in the North American market. But it is Minnesota’s only surviving solar panel manufacturer. And with 92 workers in Mountain Iron working three shifts, it is a welcome economic addition to the Iron Range.