Solar farm the size of 313 football fields to be built at Edmonton airport

Edmonton International Airport and Alpin Sun are working on an agreement that will see the company develop a 627-acre, 120-megawatt solar farm on the west side of the airport lands.

Project will be largest solar farm at an airport anywhere in the world

A solar panel is pictured in Prince Edward Island.
European-based Alpin Sun is proposing to build Airport City Solar on land leased on the west side of Edmonton International Airport. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A European-based company is proposing to build a solar farm bigger than 300 CFL football fields at Edmonton's international airport.

Edmonton International Airport and Alpin Sun are working on an agreement that will see the company develop Airport City Solar, a 627-acre, 120-megawatt solar farm on what is now a canola field on the west side of the airport lands.

The solar farm will be the largest at an airport anywhere in the world, EIA said in a news release Tuesday.

"It's a great opportunity to drive economic development as well as be better for the environment," Myron Keehn, vice-president, commercial development and air service at EIA, told CBC News.

"We're really excited that [Alpin Sun] has chosen Edmonton and the airport to do it. It's a great location. We've got lots of land, we're geographically located north, which is great for us, because it allows us to have great hours of sunlight.

"As everyone knows in Edmonton, you can golf early in the morning or golf late at night in the summertime here. And in wintertime it's great, because of the snow, and the reflective [sunlight] off the snow that creates power as well."

Airport official Myron Keehn says the field behind him will become home to the world's largest solar farm at an airport. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The project will "create jobs, provide sustainable solar power for our region and show our dedication to sustainability," Tom Ruth, EIA president and CEO, said in the news release.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2022. The solar farm would be operational by the end of that year, the release said. 

Alpin Sun says the project will bring in $169 million in foreign investment to the Edmonton metro region. 

Power generated by Airport City Solar will feed into Fortis Alberta and airport distribution systems.

Quick facts:

  • The solar farm will consist of about 340,000 solar panels.

  • The facility will produce enough electricity to power 27,000 to 28,000 homes.

  • The area, 627 acres, will equal roughly 313 CFL football fields,

  • Construction will employ 120 workers for a year, with up to 250 workers at its peak.

  • The 120-megawatt facility will generate approximately 200,000 MWh per year

  • Alpin Sun estimates that annual production of 200,000 MWh will result in an annual offset of an estimated 106,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.