There could soon be a new solar-generation power project just to the west of Castor.
Currently in the development phase, the 47 MW project is proposed for privately held property around two kilometres west of the community.
According to information at an open house held by project developers, Sky Sustainable and Green Energy Corp., the project will consist of an estimated 93,000 solar panels and tie in to the power grid via a collector station at the northeast corner of the site.
When operational, the project is anticipated to, according to developers, offset 55,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and generate enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.
“The estimated annual generation is based off actual weather patterns on an hourly basis over a typical year, both the sunny and cloudy days over a typical year,” said Jim Scantland, president of CanWest Solar, another company behind the project.
“The resulting preliminary design shows that the project does catch enough sun to make the project worthwhile.”
The project is proposed to have a 25-year life-span. At the end of life, a full reclamation is planned, including removal of all panels, racking, pilings, and other infrastructure so that the property can return to farming use.
While the actual operation of the site will be remotely monitored, the site will employee local operators for facility maintenance and grounds-keeping.
To minimize snow build-up in winter months, the panels are being installed at a 30-degree angle and, as they are solar collectors, they will stay warmer than the surrounding structures which should allow all but the heaviest snow falls to almost immediately melt and fall off.
“In the event of an extreme weather event, manual snow removal may be considered, but that is not typical,” said Scantland.
Environmental studies in the area of the proposed project have already been completed, and applications to the Alberta Utilities Commission are anticipated to be submitted by the end of December.
If all the approvals are secured and funding is secured, the project is anticipated to start construction in October 2023 with an in-service date of June 2024.
Project developers held a community open house on Nov. 23 where people could come, ask questions, and find out more information about the project. According to Jim Scantland, with Canwest Solar Development Corp., 18 people attend the open house which he considered successful for the event.