Massive new solar farm puts Canada in elite club
Cost efficiencies in the development of solar power is allowing for the development of Canada's largest solar project to date in south western Ontario. The project will put Canada in an elite group of nations for which solar is becoming a mainstay of the energy grid.
Who doesn’t crave a little sunshine, especially this time of year? Certainly those involved in building out Canada’s biggest solar project to date, and what will be one of the largest solar power generation farms in North America.
Unveiled last month as part of what’s called the Grand Renewable Solar Project in Haldimand County on the north shores of Lake Erie and along the Grand River, the farm, when up and running in the spring of 2015, will produce 100 megawatts of energy a year — enough to power about 17,000 homes.
The project is but one piece of a larger $5-billion initiative between Samsung Renewable Energy and the province of Ontario to create a cluster of solar and wind projects that when all told will generate about 1,400 megawatts of green power.
The reality is that PV [photovoltaic] prices have come down big time, which makes a project like this make all the more sense
The solar portion of the initiative is being developed by Samsung, Canadian Solar — which is also building a nearby plant to produce and supply the solar panels — and ABB Canada, who with Bondfield Construction is literally moving the dirt around as well as providing the equipment and engineering know-how to install 120,000 foundations that will hold 450,000 solar panels on the 800-acre farm.
It is a significant step forward in adding renewable energy to Ontario’s grid and reducing reliance on coal and other fossil fuels to keep the lights on. It also catapults Ontario into an elite club of countries like Germany and Denmark who are at the forefront of making solar a mainstay of their energy production strategy.
“It is an interesting trend in that it’s showing that Canada can be at the forefront of this worldwide energy revolution,” says Jose Etcheverry, co-chair of the Toronto-based Sustainable Energy Initiative and an associate professor with York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. “The reality is that PV [photovoltaic] prices have come down big time, which makes a project like this make all the more sense.”