Canada's 'largest' solar project gets green light for construction

Key Points
  • The photovoltaic facility could supply electricity to over 100,000 homes.
  • Solar photovoltaic capacity in Canada stood at 3,040 MW in 2018, with most of it based in Ontario.
Creative abstract solar power generation technology, alternative energy and environment protection ecology business concept: 3D render illustration of the group of solar battery panel modules against scenic sunset with blue sky with sun light
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A 400-megawatt Canadian solar facility, expected to be the largest operating solar energy project in the country, is a step closer after the Alberta Utilities Commission granted approval for its construction and operation.

In an announcement Tuesday, Greengate Power said construction on the Travers Solar project would start in 2020, with commercial operations slated for 2021.

Greengate said the photovoltaic facility could supply electricity to over 100,000 homes. The site of the project is in Vulcan County, Alberta. Photovoltaic refers to the process of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.

"We are very pleased to have received approval for what we expect will be Canada's largest solar energy project and one of the largest in the world," Greengate CEO Dan Balaban said in a statement.

At 400 MW, the Travers Solar project would be toward the upper end of solar PV plants. In North America, other large-scale PV plants include the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farms project and the 586 MW Solar Star Projects facility, which are both located in California.

"We anticipate that Travers Solar will bring significant investment, employment and clean renewable energy to Alberta while strengthening the province's position as a global energy and environmental leader," Balaban added.

Solar photovoltaic capacity in Canada stood at 3,040 MW in 2018, with most of it based in Ontario, according to Natural Resources Canada. At the moment, the country's biggest PV farms include the Sol-Luce Kingston facility and Grand Renewable Energy Park, which both have a capacity of 100 MW. By contrast, the country's hydroelectricity capacity was 80,764 MW in 2017.