Canadian company sets up shop in Minnesota to make solar panels


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.

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