By Nikki Jamieson
The same sun that grows Taber iconic corn could soon help power your home.
Bowmont Capital & Advisory Ltd. and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. have partnered together, on behalf of C&B Alberta Solar Development ULC (CBA), to jointly develop a solar power plant located near Taber.
The proposed site, better known as the Taber Solar Project, is located just five kilometre north of town, in an what is considered an ideal spot as it is just one and a half kilometre away from a substation.
“Southern Alberta has a very, very attractive solar resource. So it is a great place to have solar plants,” said Ian Sanchez, managing director of Bowmont Capital & Advisory Ltd. “The specific sites we’ve selected are close to substations — there is a very large substation near our site and the town of Taber. By locating close to distribution substations, we can minimize the need for additional transmission or distribution times.”
With the recent Municipal District of Taber’s land-use amendment to include solar systems, the area becomes just that much more attractive.
“The amendment was related to land-use in fringe zone land,” said Sanchez. “Solar is a permitted use on land that are designated or zoned fringe, which is where our lands are in that Taber area.”
There will be 91,000 solar modules installed on the Taber site, on a piece of land that is 190 acres in size.The site, once completed, be a 22 megawatt project. That means it will produced about 43 gigawatt hours of electricity every year.
Thats enough energy to, according to Sanchez, power about 6,000 households each year. Considering that just over 5,000 people in Taber are adults, it safe to say that the site will produce more then enough energy to cover the town.
Additionally, the site will off set some of the local load at the nearby substations, something Sanchez calls “very efficient”, as it ups the local load force and avoids transmission loss.
“Those substations are serving the local electrical load. So, you know, in the case of Taber obviously, in the town of Taber, there is a number of industrial uses that consume electricity, and normally that’s delivered in the way of the transmission system,” said Sanchez. “But if you generate close to the load, close to the electrical load, it’s quite a bit more efficient. You basically avoid transmission system losses of electricity.”
They have submitted applications to the Alberta Utilities Commission, and, if all goes according to plan, they will receive approval at the end of the year.
Once that has been granted, construction on the site is expected to start in early 2018, with the site running by early 2019.
An open house will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Heritage Inn from 4:30-7 p.m. They expect to hear concerns about visual impacts, noise, increase in traffic and potential impacts to wildlife in the area. But one issue that has been on people’s minds — glare — is more of a non-concern, despite how much it is brought up.
“It really isn’t an issue. The panels, by their nature, are designed to absorbed sunlight, as opposed to reflecting it. That’s why they generate electricity.”
For more information on the project, visit http://www.tabersolar.com.