• Canadian Solar has won the contract from the provincial government of Alberta in Canada to develop 3 projects using bifacial solar panel technology
  • The 94 MW capacity will be built in equal partnership with indigenous community Conklin Metis Local 193, and will come online in early 2021
  • Government will procure power from these projects for government buildings for 20 years, for an average price of CAD 0.048 ($0.036) per kWh
  • Canadian Solar says this is likely the largest public sector solar energy procurement contract in Canada in 2019

The provincial government of Alberta in Canada has awarded a contract for 3 solar power projects to Canadian Solar Inc. (CSI) to supply some 55% of the government’s annual electricity needs, which is expected to result in savings of CAD 3.9 million ($2.94 million) every year, compared to the expiring contracts. Canadian Solar says this contract for the Hays, Jenner and Tilley solar projects with 94 MW cumulative capacity is ‘likely the largest public sector solar energy procurement contract in Canada in 2019’.

The other interesting bit about these projects is the use of bifacial solar panels by the Chinese company, generating up to 20% more energy than standard solar modules.

Canadian Solar will build these projects in partnership with indigenous community Conklin Metis Local 193 as 50% equity owner. The government properties of Alberta will be powered by the 3 facilities to be located between Medicine Hat and Calgary, for the next 20 years for an average price of CAD 0.048 ($0.036) per kWh.

The Canadian Solar Association (CanSIA) says this price is less than the average historical wholesale power pool price paid to natural gas-fired electricity in the province in the years 2008 to 2018.

Project completion and commissioning is expected in early 2021, when these will generate up to 146,431 MWh of clean energy annually. This is more than what the government was aiming for when it launched the tender in October 2018 – it was seeking renewable energy certificates equivalent to 135,000 MWh of solar generated electricity annually (see Canada’s Alberta Issues RFP For 135,000 MWh Of PV).

“This price discovery is monumental for the solar industry in Canada,” said Patrick Bateman, director of Policy & Market Development at CanSIA. “At less than 5 cents per kWh, this solar electricity has a cost that is less than that of natural gas. Achieving Alberta’s legislated 30% by 2030 renewable electricity target just became a whole lot cheaper!”.

CSI had announced another bifacial module project in Canada with 23 MW capacity to be developed with federal government funding in January 2019 (see 23 MW Bifacial PV Project In Canada).

Canadian Solar’s Mexico project complete

In a related development from Canadian Solar, the Canada headquartered Chinese company has commissioned its first solar power plant in Mexico. The 68 MW project in Aguascalientes, Mexico will generate 145 GWh of electricity annually. Having constructed the plant with its high-efficiency multicrystalline silicon modules CS6U-P, Canadian Solar will continue to provide operations and maintenance services. CSI secured $45 million non-recourse financing for the 68 MW project in August 2018 from French corporate investment bank Natixis (see Canadian Solar Secures $45mn For Mexico Project).

The company has a remaining pipeline of 368 MW projects with awarded power purchase agreements. Commercial operations will be achieved in 2020, it said.