The Suffield Solar Project in southern Alberta will be the first solar power plant to feature bifacial solar panels. Patrick Bateman, director of policy and market development for the Canadian Solar Industries Association says, “Bi-facial photovoltaic technology is a great fit for Southern Alberta. In summer, the prairies receive more hours of sunlight than Miami. In winter, snow cover on the ground acts as a mirror and the energy in the reflected light is captured by this innovative technology.”
The Suffield Solar Project will also employ solar tracking technology that keeps the solar panels pointed toward the sun during the day. The combination of bifacial panels and solar tracking is expected to increase the energy output of the project by 10 to 15% compared to conventional installations.
“It is essential that Canada’s energy and electricity sectors continue to be in the leading pack globally for innovation,” said CSIA CEO John Gorman. “That includes our renewable and non-renewable energy resource sectors. Alberta is Canada’s energy capital for oil and gas. Now solar energy is becoming a new source of jobs and investment for the province.”
The Suffield installation is supported by Canada’s Emerging Renewable Power Program. It will have a maximum output of 23 megawatts, enough to power 7,400 Canadian homes. It will provide 250 jobs for construction workers while it is being built.
The ERPP provides up to $200 million to expand the portfolio of commercially viable renewable energy sources available to provinces and territories as they work to reduce GHG emissions from their electricity sectors. Its mission is to establish new industries in Canada by supporting renewable power technologies that are already established at the commercial level abroad outside of Canada or are not yet deployed at utility scale in the country. Technologies eligible for the ERPP include offshore wind, geothermal power, concentrated photovoltaic, and in-stream tidal generation.
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