Rocky View County is hoping to get into the renewable energy game with plans to build the country’s largest solar farm project.
The county passed land use changes this week allowing for development firm RealPart Canada to move ahead with plans to construct a solar farm with 700,000 panels on rural property near Indus, just southeast of Calgary. At 386 hectares, the project’s size would rival some of Calgary’s suburbs (Auburn Bay, for example, is 450 hectares).
If the company is able to secure a development permit from the county, RealPart Canada estimates the farm will be capable of generating 150 megawatts of power, equivalent “to supplying power to around 24,600 homes.”
The project would also create around 200 full-time jobs during construction, the county said, with another 20 to 30 permanent jobs created once the site is fully operational.
In a statement, County reeve Greg Boehlke called the development an exciting first step in a “forward-thinking project” for region while recognizing “the importance of Alberta’s conventional energy resources.”
“Alternate forms of energy such as solar farms can play an important supporting role in any future energy needs, and in the economic diversification of the County and the province,” Boehlke said.
The county said landscaping around the site will be designed to reduce visibility of the solar panels from adjacent roadways and the installation of the solar farm “will not impact the long-term sustainability of the land for future agricultural use.”
News of the RealPart project comes on the heels of the NDP’s announcement last month that the Alberta government awarded one of the world’s largest solar companies — Ontario-based Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. — a 20-year deal to provide electricity to government facilities, a move that will double existing solar power capacity in the province.
The Province has been using 100-per-cent renewable electricity to power its facilities since 2009, with that power generated by wind.
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