CALGARY, AB — The provincial government has announced another significant investment in solar energy in southern Alberta.
Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, announced in Calgary on Friday that Canadian Solar Inc. has been awarded a 20-year contract to supply the provincial government with solar power. The company will be constructing three new facilities in Hays, Tilley and Jenner for more than $100 million. The three facilities will be capable of providing 146,431 megawatt hours of electricity per year to the province’s electricity grid once online in 2021, and they will provide 94 megawatts of power during peak hours.
Once completed, solar energy will be providing 55 per cent of the province’s annual electricity needs.
“This is a big financial win for Albertans,” said Phillips. “The Government of Alberta will pay an average of 4.8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generated by these new facilities. This will make it the most cost-effective solar power in Canadian history.
“I believe that this is only the beginning of large-scale solar electricity production in Alberta. Many people have told us over the last few years that it could not be done. It’s very clear that it can, and it should be done. Solar will be a growing part of Alberta’ future energy mix. It’s really crucial that we have a government that’s willing to brace this opportunity, these jobs, this low-cost power, this community development and resilience.”
Canadian Solar is also building a solar energy project near Suffield, which was announced in January. It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Like the Suffield project, the new plants announced will use the company’s bifacial modules, which allows energy to be captured on both sides of the panels.
“They’re exceptionally well-suited to snowy climates, and can generate up to 20 per cent more energy, due to energy production from the backside from the panels,” said Ryan Tourigny, director of business development with Canadian Solar.
Tourigny adds southeastern Alberta as a region lends itself to solar energy production.
“The first thing that draws us there is southern Alberta’s tremendous solar resource,” he said. “The next thing is the opportunity to utilize existing distribution system infrastructure, the landowners we get to work with in those regions. As a package it makes for an excellent place for investment in solar in Canada.”
An estimated 270 jobs will be created during construction.
The Conklin Métis Local 193 are 50 per cent equity owners in the project.
The three new facilities are expected to begin construction in 2020, and go online in 2021.
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