Saskatoon

Saskatoon councillors support 2-megawatt solar farm project near Montgomery Place

Councillors on the City of Saskatoon's Environment committee say they're in favour of building a two-megawatt solar project on the southern outskirts of the city.

Saskatoon Light & Power would build, maintain facility, which still needs council approval

The City of Saskatoon's Environmental committee has voted in favour of building a solar energy facility on the city's southern outskirts. (CBC)

Councillors on the City of Saskatoon's environment committee say they're in favour of building a two-megawatt solar project on the southern outskirts of the city.

The project would be built by Saskatoon Light & Power, the city-owned electricity utility, and would be the largest contiguous solar farm within city limits.

On Monday, the committee voted in favour of building the $4.25 million dollar project. A total of $2.5 million would be paid for through provincial and municipal grants.

"I'm happy after lots of talk and and exploration to see this coming back with such a solid feasibility study and plan," said Mayor Charlie Clark.

"It seems like a very achievable plan here."

The city reserved a 14-acre parcel of land that runs along Dundonald Avenue for the project in 2017. The land, which is located east of the Montgomery Place neighbourhood, would hold more than 5,000 solar panels and would generate power for 30 years.

A map of the proposed solar farm running along Dundonald Avenue. (City of Saskatoon)

The solar farm would power roughly 330 homes and reduce greenhouse gases by an average of 450 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. It's the equivalent of removing about 98 cars from the road each year. 

The project would fit in with the city's plans to bring in 20 megawatts of solar power on municipal land within the next decade. It's the city's first utility-scale solar project in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon Light & Power has run a 1.4 megawatt landfill gas power plant since 2014, and a program that rebates customers for solar panels generates 2.7 megawatt of power.

There were some community concerns about the project, especially about road noise. To gain access to the site, two noise attenuation panels will have to be permanently removed, however administration said sound for homeowners would not be increased.

The committee also agreed that the land be gradually reseeded to natural grass and create pollinator habitats. While this approach would carry higher up-front costs, it would eventually save the city more than $5,000 per year, as it would not need any upkeep.

The project would be paid for through Saskatoon Light & Power's reserves, but would end up generating money for the utility. It's expected the project will generate $300,000 per year after the capital cost is paid for after seven years, as the city electrical company buys power from SaskPower and redistributes it.

If approved by city council, the project is expected to be complete by 2023. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said that the project would remove emissions equivalent to 9,000 cars per year. In fact, it is equivalent to about 98 cars.
    Nov 02, 2021 8:46 AM CT

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