Earlier this summer, the Town of Ingersoll’s council voted to move ahead with plans to build a $32.5 million solar energy farm. The town, which lies about two hours outside of Toronto, will partner with inTech Clean Energy, a longtime distributor of solar PV equipment throughout Europe, to build the 18.2-hectare project on land owned by inTech.
City Plans Include Solar Farm and Equipment Production Facility
In addition to the 45-acre solar farm, inTech and Ingersoll plan to build a manufacturing facility for solar panels and photovoltaic equipment. Mayor Paul Holbrough offered that the proposal is “the largest investment the town has ever made within its own borders.” Other feed-in-tariff (FIT) applicants in the area were rejected because they lacked the requisite transmission capacity.
Solar Energy Farm Promises Increased Income
The decision to move forward with this green energy project should mean positive economic gains for the Town of Ingersoll. The solar farm is expected to produce 11.2 megawatts of electricity per year. By selling this into the province’s power grid through the Ontario Power Authority’s FIT program, the farm is expected to generate $5 million per year. Approximately $1 million of this will be used to repay debts and maintain the facility, leaving the remaining $4 million as profit for the town.
Solar Certification to Offer New Job Opportunities
Not only does this investment in green energy reflect Ontario’s growing interest in environmental protection, but it will also promote the growth of solar energy as an economic sector. Solar certification and PV training programs offer opportunities to join this increasingly in-demand career stream. The predominance of inTech and similar organizations that produce and install solar PV panels, roof integration systems, and other equipment could lead to countless new jobs in the field as Ontario’s workforce acquires the requisite skills to help with the green transformation.
I suggest that the Town of Ingersoll review the cost estimates and financial projections for this project: they appear to be a little too low for comfort, being far below the European average of between $4 and $5/Mw connected, and not counting a manufacturing facility. There is a large subsidy somewhere, and it should be reflected in the Town’s debt payment schedule, otherwise it stands to lose a lot of money.
Energy Farms International LLC
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