Canada Now Home To World’s Largest Solar Power Farm


Sarnia Solar Facility, deemed the world’s largest solar power station, has opened in Canada. Located in Ontario, it has a capacity of 80MW, 20MW above Olmedilla PV Park in Spain, which so far has held the title as the largest of its kind in the world. Sarnia is expected to generate 120,00MWh per year, or enough power for 12,800 homes.

The station is a partnership between Enbridge Energy and First Solar, which provides thin-film panels, arguably cleaner than standard silicon ones.

“Enbridge will sell the power output of the facility to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program”, the company said in an official statement.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.



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3 comments on “Canada Now Home To World’s Largest Solar Power Farm

Oliver

Thank you for the link to the original press release, and congratulations to Ontario for this record installation! However I wonder if it is wise to have technical articles written (summarized) by authors without a technical background. Apart from dropping a zero in the 120,000MWh annual production, how does Antonio come to the conclusion that “thin film panels [are] arguably cleaner than standard silicon ones”? The press release has a statement from FS about having the lowest carbon footprint (and I’m sure nuclear power has a low CFP as well) in manufacturing, but is the author aware of the current efforts in the EU to basically ban FS products because of their use of Cadmium (whether this is justified or not is a different matter, but Cd is indeed an indexed substance for most applications in the EU)?

The panels in the picture are not thin film, just saying. Anyway, congratulations again and I hope to see the first 100MWp solar park around soon!

Dear Oliver, thanks for your comment and for highlighting the typo in the energy production figure provided. Yes, the article was based on the official press release about the opening of the station, that’s why I linked to it – as a kind of disclosure. As to the Cadmium/EU/FS issue, there’s a good article in the NY Times (Nov/2009) about it, which may give readers a broader view of the issue:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/business/energy-environment/09iht-green09.html?_r=1&ref=business.

A more recent, financially-oriented comment on the issue was provided by Seeking Alpha on 14 October:

“The risk of a cadmium-linked downfall for this leading solar firm (FS) is probably quite low, but First Solar does give the matter of “increasingly stringent governmental regulation” a fair amount of space in its 10-K.”

Thanks again for your contribution,

Best,

Antonio

Oliver

Hello Antonio,

thank you for the quick reply and for the NYT link and I apologize for the unprofessional statement in my second sentence. The Cd issue is quite interesting since there are several major German manufacturers/competitors in c-Si “pushing” legislation and of course with so many First Solar modules already installed in Europe it is no longer a sideline issue. Interestingly the Cd topic has been picked up by anti-PV and anti-renewables pressure groups who misinform the German public (the ones who have to foot the bill of the FIT costs and who can vote) that dangerous or restricted substances are unavoidable for ANY type of PV. An interesting strategy that is aimed to remove PV from the “Green” energy options.

But that goes beyond your original report, perhaps you’ll have the opportunity to write aout this in future articles.

Sincerely,

Oliver

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