Alberta has been awarded a 20 year contract to supply government properties with solar power.

Canadian Solar will build three new solar power facilities between Medicine Hat and Calgary near Hays, Tilley and Jenner. This will bring roughly 270 local jobs during construction in southern Alberta.

These facilities are being built in partnership with Conklin Métis Local 193 as 50 per cent equity owners. This announcement came on Friday, February 15.

“Alberta is one of the best places in the world to invest in renewable energy. I am so proud to take another huge step in advancing solar energy in Alberta while creating good local jobs and saving millions of public dollars. This is an important step in building a more resilient and diversified economy and attracting further investment to Alberta’s booming renewables market,” said environment and parks minister, Shannon Phillips.

This solar power contract is the most cost-effective government procurement of solar power in Canadian history and will supply roughly 55 per cent of the government’s annual electricity needs. This will save $3.9 million per year and at an average price of 4.8 cents per kilowat per hour (kW-h).

The province’s approach at attracting new investment into renewable energy is setting national records, which they saw success previously with their Renewable Electricity Program.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Canadian Solar, world leaders in solar power. As a Métis community, we highly value the opportunity to invest in renewable energy projects within the country. This partnership will help diversify our investment portfolio and the financial benefits will support our community in key social and economic initiatives. We applaud the Government of Alberta and Canadian Solar for their progressive mentality and look forward to a long-lasting, prosperous relationship,” said Conklin Métis Local 193 president, Shirley Tremblay.

Over the last three years the province has seen an increase in solar generation by more than 700 per cent, mostly with small scale projects. The three new projects just announced will represent another doubling of Alberta’s current capacity and smaller projects will keep growing through supportive programs.

Solar project facts

The province’s contract with Canadian Solar goes from 2021 – 2041. The new solar facilities should be online in 2021.

The three new facilities will produce up to 146,431 megawatt hours (mW-h) of electricity per year. The facility in Hays is expected to produce 51,706 MW-h, the Jenner facility to produce 48,654 MW-h and the Tilley location should produce 46,071 MW-h.

It will cost the Government of Alberta $48.05 per MW-h (4.8 cents per kW-h) for the electricity created by the new facilities.

Electricity from the new solar facilities will feed into Alberta’s electricity grid and has the potential to power roughly 20,000 homes yearly.

Photo supplied: Minister Phillips (centre right) announces the partnership between Canadian Solar and Conklin Métis Local 193 on three solar power contracts to supply 55 per cent of the Alberta government’s electricity needs.