1,576 solar panels — enough to power 4,500 homes — could be built on contaminated Calgary site

A former industrial site in southeast Calgary could soon be home to one of the biggest solar farms in western Canada.

Proposal would see 1,500 solar panels placed on top of contaminated southeast site

The proposed location of a solar farm in southeast Calgary. (City of Calgary)

A former industrial site in southeast Calgary could soon be home one of the biggest solar farms in western Canada.

The Calgary Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval to the proposal on Thursday.

The former phosphogypsum fertilizer production site near the corner of Barlow Trail and 114th Avenue S.E. has sat empty for years.

It cannot be developed until the soil is remediated.

The property owner, Viterra, is working with Irish company DP Energy to turn it into a solar farm.

Drawings of a proposed solar farm in southeast Calgary. (City of Calgary)

The plan is to cover the flat site with 1,576 solar panels. The city says that would generate 25 megawatts of electricity for Alberta's grid, enough power for about 4,500 houses.

Proposal fits city's environmental plans

Coun. Evan Woolley, who sits on the planning commission, said he likes the idea as it puts the unused land to a good purpose.

"As we seek as a municipality to reduce our GHG (greenhouse gases) footprint, having the private sector deliver on a project like this is really, really exciting and very, very positive for our city," said Woolley.

A citizen member of the commission, Melvin Foht, called it an outstanding use of the vacant land.

"I would trust that the city is looking for other sites of a similar nature that have very little if any utility other than something like this. I think it's a great idea."

A drawing of the proposed solar farm in southeast Calgary. (City of Calgary)

Representatives of the Irish company, DP Energy, were on hand for the meeting but refused to comment on the project.

It's estimated that the project would cost $40 million to $50 million to complete.

City officials say NavCanada was consulted on the proposal as the south-facing solar panels would be on a flight path to the Calgary airport. However, in a letter NavCanada raised no objections.

The proposed solar farm still has to be approved by city council. A public hearing on the plan will be held at an upcoming council meeting.

No date for construction has been released by the company. 


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