A major energy corporation is in talks with landowners across north Flamborough to install about 60,000 solar panels through the area.
Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. hopes to build the Mountsberg solar area, a solar energy farm that would produce enough energy to power as many as 5,000 homes per year.
The project would involve installing large banks of the solar panels, each about three by five feet, on rural properties north of Freelton. The company is negotiating 20-year contracts with "several" landowners to host the panels, said spokesperson Tim Smitheman.
The company is also holding a public meeting on July 7.
"We're reaching out to the community to educate them on what a solar farm is like," he said.
The Mountsberg farm would generate 15 to 20 megawatts of electricity. Samsung already has a solar energy farm in Haldimand that generates about 100 megawatts, and is building another near Kingston.
The company is submitting a bid to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the body overseeing a large provincial process to find new sources of green energy.
Through the process, IESO hopes to award enough contracts to generate 300 megawatts of wind energy, 140 megawatts of solar power, 50 megawatts of bioenergy and 75 megawatts of hydro, said Alexandra Campbell, IESO spokesperson.
'I wouldn't necessarily say (opinions have) been positive, but I've heard no negatives.' - Coun. Judi Partridge
The deadline is Sept. 1, with the winning bidders chosen late this year. The Ministry of Environment will assess the environmental impact of each proposal.
The city never actually gets a vote beyond offering formal vote to support the project. But that vote will go a long way, Campbell said. Each project will be scored, and those with community support will have a leg up over the others.
That's what Samsung Renewable Energy hopes to get, starting with its public meeting. Coun. Judi Partridge, who represents Ward 15 in Flamborough, said people are intrigued right now.
"I wouldn't necessarily say (opinions have) been positive, but I've heard no negatives," she said.
As for her, "I want to wait and hear what my residents have to say."
Farmers like the idea of signing leases that would bring extra income, she said. And the idea of solar power isn't new.
"A lot of farmers have banks and banks of solar panels," she said. But this is "on a much bigger scale."
Smitheman wouldn't say how much landowners get for hosting the panels. But the properties don't have to be contiguous.
- When: Tuesday, July 7
- Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
- Where: Carlisle Memorial Hall, 273 Carlisle Rd.