New solar projects will double Alberta's capacity, says government

The government anticipates the three new facilities, to be built between Medicine Hat and Calgary, will save $3.9 million per year when compared with existing contracts.

3 new facilities between Calgary and Medicine Hat will add enough to power 20,000 homes

From left to right: Shirley Tremblay, president of Conklin Metis Local 193, Ryan Tourigny, director of Business Development at Canadian Solar, Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips, and John Gorman, president and CEO of Canadian Solar Industries Association. (Government of Alberta )

The Alberta government has signed a 20-year deal that will see a private company build three solar power facilities that will double the province's capacity. 

It will supply government properties with about 55 per cent of their electricity needs. 

Canadian Solar will sell the power at an average price of 4.8 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the government. That's below the going rate for electricity, which is capped at 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour, but it would be more expensive if the cap were not in place. 

The government anticipates the three new facilities, to be built between Medicine Hat and Calgary, will save $3.9 million per year when compared with existing contracts. 

"Alberta is one of the best places in the world to invest in renewable energy. I am so proud to take another huge step in advancing solar energy in Alberta while creating good local jobs and saving millions of public dollars," said Environment Minister Shannon Phillips in a news release. 

"This is an important step in building a more resilient and diversified economy and attracting further investment to Alberta's booming renewables market."

20,000 homes

Canadian Solar will partner with Conklin Metis Local 193 as 50 per cent owners, according to the release. 

"We see great potential in the Alberta solar market, and we're pleased to supply subsidy-free solar power to meet Alberta's clean energy needs," said Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Shawn Qu in the release. 

"We hope these 94-megawatt peak solar project contracts serve as a catalyst for solar industry growth in Canada, specifically in Alberta."

The power generated by the three projects is expected to be the enough to power 20,000 homes annually.

Doubling of capacity

In making the announcement, the government said solar generation in Alberta has increased 700 per cent since 2015, with these three projects representing a doubling of the province's current capacity. 

The NDP government has been pushing hard to increase renewable electricity generation in the province, with a goal of adding 5,000 megawatts by 2030 through private sector investment of about $10 billion.

It has already announced three rounds of wind farm projects with a total capacity of 1,327 megawatts. 

The new power generated by the solar farms will feed directly into the provincial grid. 


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