June 19, 2018 2:01 pm

Solar conference moves to Calgary with hot emerging market in Western Canada

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For the first time, Calgary is hosting the country’s largest solar event as Western Canada emerges as the hottest solar market in the nation.

The Solar Canada Annual Conference & Exposition, traditionally held in Ontario, is a chance for companies to grow their business at a time when government and consumers are focusing more on renewable energy.

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“As a nation, we are seeking new markets for our enormous traditional energy reserves while rapidly expanding cleantech innovation and development,” said John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association.

“It is a dynamic time in our energy sector and it is this backdrop that makes this year’s conference so timely and of critical importance.”

Solar still only makes up a small part of Alberta’s electricity grid but its popularity is growing. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) currently has a queue of over 4,000 megawatts worth of solar projects going through the permitting process, worth an estimated $5 billion in investment.

READ MORE: Alberta sees uptick of solar systems in last 12 months

David Kelly, co-founder of SkyFire Energy told the Morning News on 770 CHQR that solar electricity is increasingly the cheapest energy source in the world and it’s also seeing the most growth.

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“In places like Saudi Arabia, in Mexico and in the southern United States, we’re seeing it outpace coal, outpace gas, outpace wind,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the province’s move to phase out coal-fired electricity generation means new energy sources will be needed to compliment traditional forms of energy.

“We’ve had this deregulated market for a number of years. They just recently procured wind energy at the cheapest price in North America. So for a new government in Alberta to say, ‘We don’t want all this renewable,’ they would be looking at more expensive energy for Albertans than what we’re going to get from wind and solar today.”

READ MORE: Alberta provides solar panel rebates

An estimated 2,200 visitors and 80 exhibitors are expected at the Solar Canada Conference which takes place June 20-21 at BMO Centre.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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