By Collin Gallant on January 24, 2019.
Ottawa will provide $15.3 million from a renewable energy development fund to help construct a substantial solar farm near CFB Suffield, it was announced on Thursday morning.
The 91,000-panel farm, proposed to be built on 202-acres south of the Trans-Canada Highway 10 kilometres west of of the Hamlet of Suffield, was first proposed in 2016. Construction could begin as early as this spring, according to regulatory documents.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Thursday the technology used will be a first in Canada and the government’s investment would create economic activity and reduce carbon emissions.
“Increasing our expertise, creating jobs and forging ahead with new technologies in high-growth industries like solar will help ensure Canada’s success,” he stated in a release. “On top of providing new sources of electricity to the local grid, increased awareness of renewables will help spur investment and support at the provincial, territorial, municipal and utility levels.”
The $49-million project, which could employ up to 250 workers during construction, is proposed by C&B Solar.
That company is a partnership between Canadian Solar Solutions, Inc. and BowMont Capital. It has proposed seven other similarly sized solar farms in Cypress County, the County of Newell or Taber areas.
The Suffield project would have a production capacity of 23 megawatts from panels mounted on bases that pivot to track the sun. It would also use “bifacial” panels, which can absorb sun on both faces which designers say will boost power production by 15 to 20 per cent during winter months when rays are reflected up from snow-covered ground.
That technology increases reliability during winter months, said Shawn Qu, the Chairman of Canadian Solar.
“This project will showcase our latest solar technology in the high-efficiency bifacial modules,” he said. “Many thanks to NRCan for its support for the development of clean and sustainable energy solutions in Alberta. As an emerging industry around the world, solar project development has realized its great potential in job creation during construction, operation and maintenance.”
Ottawa’s Emerging Renewable Power Program provides up to $200 million to expand the portfolio of commercially viable renewable energy sources.
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