Suffield Solar to be Alberta’s largest PV farm
Calgary: Suffield Solar, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar and Direct Energy Business, part of Direct Energy, announced July 25 that it had signed a long-term agreement to purchase all electrical output and associated capacity from the new Suffield generating facility. Commercial operation of the project is expected in Q4 2019.
"With increased customer demand in summer, the addition of 23 MW of solar output will help Direct Energy build renewable power supply options for our customers and provide an alternative to traditional market-based hedges" said David Brast, Senior Vice President, North America Gas and Power, Direct Energy Business. "We are also proud that our agreement with Suffield Solar is the first major step in Alberta, and supports previously announced agreements throughout North America, towards Centrica's global commitment to provide products and services that lead to a lower carbon future".
Once complete, the Suffield solar field will briefly be Alberta's largest solar power project, until the Greengate solar farm goes online in 2021 (see story elsewhere this issue). While the majority of funding for the facility has been provided through private market investment, it was announced in January that the Suffield project was awarded $15.3 million in funding through Natural Resources Canada's Emerging Renewable Power Program.
Suffield was selected for this funding as the project will deploy some of the latest advancements in renewable technology, and potentially spur further investment in the industry. Bifacial modules offer many advantages over traditional solar panels as power can be produced from both sides of a bifacial module, increasing total energy generation and reliability during winter months.
Additionally, Canadian Solar announced in February that the Company won 94 MWp of electricity contracts to power 55 percent of the Alberta provincial government's electricity needs. The projects under contract, also located in southeast Alberta, include Hays, Tilley and Jenner, and all three are scheduled to begin operation in 2021.