Rows upon rows of solar panels stretch across 23 quarter sections of Vulcan County fields. The massive project is the Travers Solar Project, the largest of its kind in Canada blanketing 3,330 acres.
“About 1.3-million solar panels will be installed on the overall site,” said Greg Sheremeta, project director for PCL Construction Management, the company tasked with building the site.
He added that once designers had a plan, civil, structural and electrical engineers made it happen.
“There is probably about 20 different engineering firms that were a part of the project and that are currently working on it, and I’d estimate there would be in excess of hundreds of engineers that have participated in the design and currently work with us in the construction.”
The project is being developed through a partnership with Greengate Power Corporation and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Each phase of the project is a major undertaking requiring a significant amount of workers.
“We currently have on site approximately 750 workers in the field and about a 40-person staff on site here that work from a management perspective,” Sheremeta said.
According to the Canada Energy Regulator, the Prairies are leading the country in renewable energy development.
Chief economist Jean-Denis Charlebois projects significant solar capacity growth in what is the sunniest part of Canada.
“We see that trend continue in the decades to come, all the more reason why we see renewables potentially reaching 50 per cent of the electricity generation mix by 2050, specifically in Alberta,” Charlebois said.
For a province that’s been known for fossil fuels, the southern part of Alberta is seeing a shift as renewables become more of a player in energy production.
“Its not a matter of hydrocarbons or renewables against one another,” Charlebois said.
“It’s really about all forms of energy and how they can complement one another in the context where Canada is trying to transition to a lower carbon economy.”
Construction on the Travers Solar Project is set to be complete by the fall.