Even as California gears up to become a major solar power state, the Canadian province of Ontario to the north is already moving ahead in this regard. Unveiled this week was an announcement about the beginning of commercial operations of what is said to be, for the moment anyhow, the largest operating photovoltaic facility in the world.
The 80-megawatt (MW) Sarnia Solar Project, according to plant partners Enbridge and First Solar, will generate around 120,000 MWh per year while using what is said to be “PV technology that was designed to create the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology available.” When at full capacity the plant will be able to generate enough power to satisfy the needs of around 12,800 homes. It is set on 950 acres and sports around 1.3 million thin film solar panels. It is believed the Sarnia facility will have an annual C02 equivalent savings of around 39,000 tonnes.
Enbridge will sell the power output of the facility to the Ontario Power Authority. About 800 jobs were created at the construction peak, along with your typical indirect benefits to dozens of businesses in the surrounding areas.
“The Sarnia Solar Project is an example of the kinds of renewable energy projects that have been developed under the Government of Ontario’s Green Energy Act,” said the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy, in a statement. “Ontario can now boast the largest solar farm in North America – it is projects like this one that are making us a leader in renewable energy and helping us all move towards a cleaner energy future.”
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