Bifacial takes all in Alberta large-scale PV auction, final price cheaper than gas

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The Ministry of Infrastructure of the Canadian province of Alberta announced it has selected three power projects with a combined capacity of 94 MW in its public power auction, with an average final price of $0.048/kWh (US$0.036).

The Canadian Solar Industries Association stressed that this figure is “less than the average historical wholesale power pool price paid [for] natural gas-fired electricity in the province in years 2008 to 2018”.

The Alberta government said: “The new contract will supply approximately 55% of the government’s annual electricity needs, saving $3.9 million per year compared to the expiring contracts.”

Through the auction, three utility-scale projects – to be built at Hays, Tilley and Jenner – were awarded to Chinese-Canadian module maker Canadian Solar, which was the only successful bidder.

Indigenous link

“Canadian Solar is building these new facilities in partnership with Conklin Métis Local 193 as 50% equity owners,” the ministry added. “The partnership between Canadian Solar and Conklin Métis Local 193 is a spectacular example of what can happen when industry, government and indigenous peoples come together,” said Alberta’s minister of indigenous relations, Richard Feehan.

The projects, expected to generate 146,431 MWh per year, were granted a 20-year PPA, from 2021 to 2041.

All three projects are expected to use bifacial solar panels, which generate up to 20% more energy than standard solar modules due to their ability to produce electricity from both their front and back sides,” said Canadian Solar in a press release.

The tender for the project was issued by the government of the western Canadian province in October. At the time, the Ministry of Infrastructure said it was committed to purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to 135,000 MWh of solar electricity per year.

The province of Alberta is targeting 5 GW of renewables to source 30% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and to phase out coal during that time.