Canada Installed 70 MW New Solar Capacity In 2020

Canadian Renewable Energy Association Says In 2020 Canada Installed 70 MW New Solar PV Capacity Taking Cumulative Deployments Closer To 3 GW Mark; 240 MW Large Scale Solar Under Construction Currently

Canada Installed 70 MW New Solar Capacity In 2020

Both wind and solar additions were very disappointing in 2020, in particular for solar, which has been stagnating on low levels for years. Having installed 70 MW new solar in a COVID-19 struck 2020, the wind/solar sector is now hoping for significant growth in anticipation of the Canadian government taking steps towards reaching net-zero GHG emitting target by 2050. (Source: Canadian Renewable Energy Association)

  • In 2020, Canada installed 70 MW of new solar power capacity as per CanREA, compared to 219 MW added in 2019
  • Together wind and solar are growing in the country with some 2 GW projects are expected to be installed or begin construction in 2021
  • 240 MW of large scale solar is under construction currently; with corporate interest, cost reductions and energy storage, solar is likely to experience continued expansion in 2021

The year 2020 had Canada installing a disappointing 70 MW of solar power capacity which was a downer from an already low level of 219 MW the country added in 2019. The decrease in demand is owing mainly due to project delays caused by COVID-19 pandemic related supply-chain disruptions, energy-demand fluctuations and workforce health concerns.

With the 70 MW addition, the cumulative solar capacity of Canada till the end of 2020 comprising sites with more than 1 MW capacity went up to around 3 GW, or to be specific 2,891 MW, according to the latest statistics shared by the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA). Last year both the Canadian Solar Industries Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association unified under CanREA (see Canada Gets Renewable Energy Association).

While wind power capacity additions for the year 2020 was also significantly down year-on-year, more wind than solar capacity was added. Canada deployed 166 MW wind power taking the cumulative installed capacity for this technology to 13.588 GW. Together both solar and wind generation now account for 40% of electricity demand for the province of Prince Edward Island, 18% in Nova Scotia and approaching 10% in other Canadian provinces.

The pandemic did the damage to solar, but CanREA believes things are looking up for the year 2021 as close to 2 GW of wind and solar projects are expected to be installed or begin construction in 2021. At least 240 MW of large scale solar is already under construction across the country.

CanREA attributes the capacity expansion of solar and wind power in the country mainly to ‘significant cost reductions’ and ‘game-changing technological improvements’. Things can only move uphill now with energy storage lending a helping hand, it said. Till the end of 2020, Canada’s aggregate utility scale energy storage capacity exceeded 130 MW/250 MWh with 12 MW or 10% coming online in 2020.

“With continued cost decreases, and emerging regulatory and market frameworks that will enable more energy-storage deployment, both utility-scale and smaller-scale (residential and commercial) energy-storage options are likely to see continued expansion in 2021,” said CanREA.

Canada aims to become a net-zero GHG emitting nation by 2050. According to A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy plan to address climate change, launched by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led federal government in 2020, Canada has committed to invest CAD 964 million ($764 million) over next 4 years to support renewable energy generation and grid modernization. It will also support rural, remote and indigenous communities with an additional CAD 300 million ($238 million) to help them switch over from dirty and expensive diesel to clean and affordable energy by 2030. According to CanREA this bodes well for clean energy future of Canada coupled with growing corporate and customer interest in wind and solar energy.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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