- Canada installed 288 MW of new utility scale solar and 677 MW of wind energy capacity in 2021
- Alberta province accounted for 250 MW of solar capacity, followed by Saskatchewan adding 21 MW
- Cumulative grid connected solar power capacity of Canada went up to 2.4 GW at the end of 2021
- In 2022, the association expects at least 1 GW of new solar to be installed in the form of projects with 10 MW or above
In the year 2021, Canada added 677 MW of new wind and 288 MW of new utility scale solar power capacity, driven by installations in Alberta as it accounted for more than 60% of all new deployments in 2021, according to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA).
Having grown 13.6% on annual basis, the 288 MW solar capacity includes only grid connected solar projects and not the rooftop, on-site facilities, which CanREA said it will release later.
Alberta alone added 250 MW solar capacity during last year thanks to the 132 MW AC Claresholm Solar Project commissioned by Capstone Infrastructure Corporation and Obton in the province as the country’s biggest solar farm (see Canada’s ‘Largest’ Solar Facility Comes Online).
Saskatchewan contributed 21 MW of the total solar in 2021, followed by Quebec’s 9.5 MW, Nova Scotia’s 4.8 MW, Yukon Territory’s 1.5 MW, Ontario’s 0.3 MW, and Prince Edward Island’s 0.1 MW.
All in, Canada’s cumulative installed grid connected solar power capacity increased to 2.4 GW (2,399 MW to be specific) at the end of 2021, having increased from 2.11 GW in 2020. In January 2021, CanREA said Canada installed 70 MW new solar in 2020 with cumulative capacity counting facilities having more than 1 MW capacity to have reached 2.89 GW (see Canada Installed 70 MW New Solar Capacity In 2020).
While this nearly 1 GW wind and solar capacity was the country’s biggest build out of new utility scale solar and wind since 2015, CanREA says it is far below what the country needs to install to achieve its target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
For 2022, the association forecasts a minimum of 1 GW new solar capacity coming online with 18 new projects of 10 MW and above capacity. Out of these, 16 facilities will be sited in Alberta and Saskatchewan, including 465 MW Travers Solar Project in Alberta that will take over the crown of the country’s largest PV facility from Claresholm.
Wind energy is also likely to grow and another 2 GW in 2022 with 23 new farms to be commissioned. Altogether, CanREA sees another 3 GW of wind and solar becoming operational in 2023.
Energy storage facilities are also gaining momentum and the association expects to see rapid growth in this segment going forward.