Canada’s largest solar farm was officially opened early today and is now producing power for the people of Stone Mills in Ontario.
First Light Solar Park; a joint venture between SunEdison Canada and SkyPower Corp consists of over 126,000 solar panels situated on 90 acres. The solar farm is expected to generate over 10 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity in its first year and will be enough to power 10,000 households. Over 20 years, the 9.1-megawatt system will displace nearly 152 thousand metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing almost 33,000 cars from the road.
This new green energy supply will help support Ontario’s elimination of dirty, coal-fired generation, which is Canada’s single largest climate change initiative. With two more large solar projects expected to come on line by the end of 2009, Ontario will join the elite ranks of North America’s leaders in installed solar capacity.
While the tar sands operations of Alberta in Canada have sullied the country’s global reputation for working towards addressing climate change, in Ontario, the nation’s second largest province, it’s a completely different story. The province has seen solar power uptake skyrocket, due to favourable support from its government.
Since October 2003, Ontario has added more than 1,200 megawatts renewable energy electricity generation capacity and if projects come online as expected, Ontario is on pace to increase its solar capacity nearly 25-fold in the last four months of this year alone.
Ontario’s feed in tariff program was also recently relaunched. Owners of solar panel systems will receive AUD 84c (current exchange rates) per kWh on all power produced; one of the most generous feed in tariff schemes in the world.