After almost a year of feeding the grid, British Columbia’s first utility scale solar installation has proven it can “do what it was designed to do.” Though SunMine’s production fell in December and January, the site was back within 95% of the projected yield by the end of April (1,500 MwH of the anticipated 1,585 MwH). Now that the sunnier months have begun, the 1.05 MW installation is producing excess electricity. It is not surprising to hear that at the Engineers Canada Awards Gala on May 26th in Charlottetown, PEI, SunMine received national recognition.
This is going to be what some of my colleagues call a “puff piece.” More critical evaluations may follow; this is a time to celebrate. Though SunMine has actually been feeding the grid since June 22nd, the city of Kimberley just made the official announcement. BC’s First Commercial Solar Project is operational.
There are slow pockets, but most of British Columbia’s solar contractors are busier than ever before. Riverside Energy Systems, in Kamloops, is finding it difficult to keep up. Rob Baxter, of Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-operative, thinks we may have reached a tipping point, “more people want to support solar energy.” Alevtina Akbulatova, Net Metering Specialist with BC Hydro, said 90 projects were connected to the grid during 2014. She added, “There are already 99 this year and I could approve a few more by the end of the day.” Add in the 1 megawatt of capacity from SunMine, the province’s first utility scale solar project, and BC’s Solar capacity Is doubling. Continue reading BC’s Solar Capacity Is Doubling→
Kimberly’s city council has a history of embracing innovation. They rebranded Kimberly “the Bavarian city of the Rockies” once it became apparent the Sullivan mine was going to run out. Further ventures into tourism led to the acquisition of the local ski hill and construction of what is now one of Canada’s 10 top golf courses. Both of these projects have since been sold. The city was ready for something new when Michel de Spot, CEO of Vancouver’s Ecosmart Foundation, approached them in 2008. He said the former Sullivan mine is the perfect site for a utility scale solar project.
The 9th annual Paddle for the Peace begins today: Saturday, July 12, 2014. This year’s trek is especially important because of the impending decision on British Columbia’s proposed Site C dam. If this project is approved, close to 9,429 acres of class 1-5 farmland will be submerged by water. The government will also be breaking treaty 8, which promised the local First Nations they would be allowed to pursue their traditional way of life in this area “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.” In its zeal to develop Site C, British Columbia’s Provincial Government could miss the opportunity to build what is, potentially, the biggest solar project in North America, Continue reading Potentially, The biggest Solar project in North America→