Ontario: Commercial operations start on 80 MW PV plant

Located across 90 acres, the Ontario plant reportedly has a panel surface area of around 966,000 square metres, and is comprised of approximately 1.3 million thin film panels. The annual yield is expected to about 120,000 MWh, which should save over 39,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Enbridge adds that the facility will generate enough power to meet the needs of about 12,800 homes.

The companies say that around 800 jobs were created at construction peak, as well as “indirect benefits” to dozens of businesses in the Sarnia area, including engineering and design firms, construction subcontractors, suppliers and service providers.

The power purchaser is Canada-based Ontario Power Authority. Enbridge has said it will sell the power output of the facility to the authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.

First Solar will operate and maintain the Sarnia Solar Project for Enbridge under a long-term contract. First Solar developed, engineered, and constructed the facility, using its thin film solar panels.

“Completing the world’s largest PV power plant demonstrates the migration of solar PV toward utility scale," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar’s senior vice president of North American project development. "With this project, we expect to install 145 MW this year in North America."

The Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy added: "The Sarnia Solar Project is an example of the kinds of renewable energy projects that have been developed under the Government of Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Ontario can now boast the largest solar farm in North America – it is projects like this one that are making us a leader in renewable energy and helping us all move towards a cleaner energy future."