The quiet prairie landscape of Vulcan County, a rural stretch of southern Alberta, is set to become the site of Canada’s largest solar energy facility – the 400 MW Travers Solar Project. And with the region’s oil industry struggling with low demand and lower prices, solar could provide a lifeline to Alberta in meeting energy demand and providing jobs.
German EPC contractor GP Joule is set to begin construction of a 25.4 MW solar plant to sell power on the spot market as part of a diversified plant portfolio. The facility, in the province of Alberta, will expand the increasing list of unsubsidized projects announced in the region in recent months.
The $376 million Travers Solar project has had the nod from the Alberta Utilities Commission. Construction on the subsidy-free facility, which will operate on a merchant basis, will start next year with an operational date set for 2021.
The solar manufacturer and developer was racing to sell off a significant chunk of its late-stage portfolio by the end of last month to rebound after assuring investors the losses registered in the first quarter of this year would prove to be a one-off.
The Albertan Ministry of Infrastructure allocated around 94 MW of solar capacity and the three selected projects, all using bifacial modules, were secured by Canadian Solar. The projects will generate around 55% of the provincial government’s annual electricity needs.
Renewable energy developers connected roughly 1.29 GW of new capacity to the Canadian grid in 2016, but solar remains a negligible part of that growth, accounting for just 0.5% of total nationwide electricity generation last year, according to the National Energy Board (NEB).
German-based project developer Soventix is set to develop up to 140 MW of PV in Alberta, Canada. The company is currently planning six projects with capacities ranging from 15 – 45 MW near the cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
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