Large-scale solar deployments are quickly becoming the norm in Canada.
This could be credited to a variety of reasons including increased energy requirements, greater availability of incentives, improved technology, increased investment, and ambitious climate targets. All these reasons and more are leading to the development of exciting projects across the country.
Here’s the list of Canada’s top five largest operational and under construction solar energy facilities.
5. Grand Renewable Energy Park, Ontario
Haldimand County, Ontario, is home to Grand Renewable Energy Park, a project capable of generating 150MW of wind and 100MW of solar power annually. Grand Renewable Energy has been operational since 2015 and is valued at approximately CAD $7bn.
It was created in response to the Government of Ontario’s initiative to promote renewable power in the region and is located on approximately 3.2km2 of privately owned land. The project is owned by Samsung C&T, Conner Clark & Lunn Infrastructure and Six Nations.
The ground-mounted panels produce approximately 165,000MWh of electricity each year, which is capable of powering 13,740 homes and offsetting around 162,000t of carbon dioxide emissions. The project’s engineering procurement and construction contractor was Canadian Solar Solutions, and ABB and Bondfield Construction provided the turnkey installation for the PV solar project.
4. Claresholm Solar Farm, Alberta
Located in the district of Willow Creek in southern Alberta, the Claresholm solar farm generates 132MW of energy on 5.17km2 of agricultural land. Approximately 477,198 photovoltaic solar panels are mounted on fixed-tilt racking.
Capstone Infrastructure, a Canadian renewable energy investment company, acquired the majority stake (51%), while Obton, a Danish investment company, owns the remaining 49% stake. PCL Construction was brought on for development, and Photoventus handled the engineering work for the solar farm.
The CAD $200m project was approved in 2019, with construction beginning in 2020; the plant has been operational since April 2021. Claresholm solar farm offsets approximately 149,000 metric tonnes of CO₂ a year while generating enough renewable energy to power about 33,000 Alberta homes.
Over the project’s life, Claresholm is predicted to contribute 35 million to the local economy through property tax revenue.
3. Sol-Luce Solar PV Park, Ontario
Operating since September 2015, Sol-Luce Solar PV Park in Kingston, Ontario, has a 140MW capacity. The ground-mounted solar project spans 3.2 km2 of agricultural land. Sol-Luce Solar generates enough clean energy to power 16,409 households and offsets 119,292t of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The project produces 173,000MWh of electricity per year and costs approximately CAD $267.603m. It was developed by CarbonFree Technology and Samsung Renewable Energy. Canadian Solar Solutions provided the PV modules for the project, while H.B. White Canada rendered the EPC services.
Power generated by Sol-Luce Solar PV Park will be sold to Ontario Power Authority under a purchase agreement for 20 years, beginning in 2015.
2. Vauxhall Solar, Alberta
Vauxhall Solar is a planned 153.258MW PV Park in Alberta, expected to enter commercial operation in July 2022.
The ground-mounted solar project is owned by Solar Kraft Utilities and spans approximately 5.2km2 of private land near the town of Vauxhall. The project is expected to produce sufficient clean energy to power 35,000 homes and offset 175,000t of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The cost of the project is estimated to be CAD $155.977m.
BELECTRIC will cover the project’s EPC services, and JA Solar Holdings will supply the PV modules. The panels will be mounted on horizontal trackers that track the sun throughout the day.
1. Travers Solar Project, Alberta
The largest solar power plant in Canada, Travers Solar Project, is currently under construction south of Lomond, Alberta east of Travers Reservoir.
Once complete, the 13.35 km2 of land will be home to 1.3 million solar panels capable of producing enough electricity to power 150,000 homes, roughly 465MW. The Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, one of the largest renewable energy investment firms globally, has funded the entire 700 million dollar project.
Travers Solar Project will be the first time Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners supports a Canadian renewable energy project. Amazon has entered a purchase agreement to buy 400MW of power produced by the solar farm to offset company emissions.
Hopefully, two proposed projects will make our top five list soon:
Dunmore Solar Project
The 216MW Dunmore Solar Project is set to commence in 2023. The project is located east of Medicine Hat and is being developed by Horus Energy and Ascent Energy Partners using bi-facial modules.
Brooks Solar Farm
Once completed, Brooks Solar Farm in the County of Newell, Alberta, west of the City of Brooks, will be a 400MW solar facility capable of generating enough clean energy to power 90,000 homes and offset 470,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. Brooks Solar Farm will be located on 11.3km2 of private land.
The project’s total cost is expected to reach CAD $500m, with construction in phases and commercial operations commencing in late 2022.