As SaskPower continues to work on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, it’s beginning work on the province’s first utility-scale solar project.
While the Crown corporation has customer programs where panels are put onto homes, this will be the first one of this scale.
The project will provide 10 megawatts (MW) of power to the crown corporation — which will light up around 2,000 homes.
Doug Opseth, director of generation asset management and planning with SaskPower, said this project will continue help SaskPower reach its goal of reducing emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 numbers by 2030.
“The way in which we’re going to do that is by significantly increasing the amount of renewable generation in Saskatchewan,” Opseth said. “Certainly projects like this help us move towards that target.”
The new project, called the Highland Solar Project, will be located in the RM of Coulee near Swift Current. While 10 MW is a fairly small amount — under one per cent of the total generation capacity of SaskPower — the goal is to continue to invest in more renewable energy, such as wind and solar, in the near future.
The Crown corporation signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Saturn Power for the project. Saturn Power began in 2007 and has seen an increase in the want for renewable energy.
“It’s gone from a fringe industry to a mainstream industry, it’s now considered utility-scale around the world,” said Ray Roth, COO of Saturn Power.
This will be the company’s first foray into Saskatchewan, with other projects in Ontario and Oregon.
Currently the company produces 50 MW with a majority of that coming from solar power.
SaskPower said it does not release the exact details of power purchase agreements.
Opseth couldn’t give a dollar figure for what the deal is worth but said solar power is new in Saskatchewan and is more expensive but the prices continue to come down.
The project will be completed in 2019 with another project expected to be announced that same year.