The City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro have signed an agreement through which 8,800 solar panels will be installed on city-owned buildings across the city. The construction for the project has already started with the installation of panels on Mimico Arena, York Mills Arena, and Goulding Park Community Centre/Arena.
The panels will generate about 2600 MWh of electricity annually for 20 years and can power approximately 215 households. The project is expected to cut 480 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The generated power will be fed into Toronto Hydro-Electric System’s electrical grid, which is expected to generate gross revenue of over $16 million for 20 years. The electricity will be purchased under the feed-in tariff contract scheme of the Ontario Power Authority, a program that encourages project developers to invest in renewable energy generation, transmission, and distribution so that even more renewable energy sources can be incorporated into Ontario’s electricity system.
The panels will be installed at ten different locations in Toronto, for which about 60% of the panels will be manufactured locally, thus helping the growth and development of solar energy sector in a region. Several international companies, like Trina Solar, have entered the Canadian solar power market as they see significant opportunity growing there.
“This is a great opportunity to make use of underutilized City roof space and generate revenue for the City,” said Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough-Agincourt), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee in a press release. “Reducing environmental impacts for communities and improving air quality for our residents is another step in the right direction.”
“We have an important role interconnecting renewable projects to the distribution grid; we have connected hundreds of distributed generation customers totalling more than 90 megawatts (MW), of which 13 MW are renewable projects,” said Ivano Labricciosa, Vice-President, Asset Management, Toronto Hydro. “And, in addition to supporting our customers’ renewable programs we have two solar projects of our own that generate over 900 MWh and displace approximately 165 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy.”
Similar projects have been implemented in many places across Ontario. Like Toronto, Belleville has a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority. After the contract expires, the electricity generated by the solar panels will power the individual buildings.
“By far, most of the rooftop and solar installations that are being developed are by private developers on privately-owned buildings,” said Rob Maxwell, manager of the Toronto Renewable Energy Office.
Photo Credit: SolarCity
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