Canadian Solar has announced that it has won three solar power contracts with Alberta’s Ministry of Infrastructure, for a total of 94 megawatts (MWp) of solar power system in southeast Alberta, with an average contracted PPA price of 48.05 Canadian dollars per megawatt-hour (MWh). When in operation, these solar plants will provide 55 percent of the electricity needs for Alberta provincial government. This is likely the largest public sector solar energy procurement contract in Canada in 2019.
“We see great potential in the Alberta solar market, and we’re pleased to supply subsidy-free solar power to meet Alberta’s clean energy needs. We hope these 94 MWp solar project contracts serve as a catalyst for solar industry growth in Canada, specifically in Alberta,” said Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “We are delighted to partner with Conklin Métis Local 193, the indigenous community, who owns a 50-percent equity stake in the Hays, Jenner and Tilley solar projects.”
In the fall of 2018, Canadian Solar entered into a 50-percent equity partnership with Conklin Métis Local 193 on the three projects. The Conklin Métis are an indigenous community based in the rural hamlet of Conklin, part of the Athabasca Oil Sands region in eastern Alberta.
“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Canadian Solar, a global leader in solar energy. As a Métis community, we highly value the opportunity to invest in renewable energy projects within Canada,” said Shirley Tremblay, president of the Conklin Métis Local 193. “This partnership will help us diversify our investment portfolio, and its financial benefits will support key social and economic initiatives within our community. We applaud the Government of Alberta and Canadian Solar for their progressive mentality and look forward to a long-lasting, prosperous relationship.”
The three projects in the contracts are the Jenner, Tilley, and Hays solar projects. Once completed in early 2021, these solar plants are expected to generate enough power for more than 20,000 homes. During the construction of the three solar projects, an estimated 270 jobs will be created in Alberta.
All three projects are expected to use bifacial solar panels, which generate up to 20 percent more energy than standard solar modules due to their ability to produce electricity from both their front and back sides. These modules are particularly well-suited to snowy climates like Alberta in the winter, as snow will increase reflection of sunlight.