Up to 45,000 solar panels will be installed in parallel rows in the area shown in yellow on the map. Each panel will be approximately 2 meters high and 1 meter wide. Each row of solar panels will be 3 panels high and multiple panels long. The rows will span the width of the project area, face south at a fixed angle and be supported by a racking system that is secured to the ground using embedded piles.
The solar panels will be wired together and connected to electrical boxes. Underground cabling will be installed to connect the boxes to inverter stations and switchgear. From here, the electricity will be distributed to the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant, our battery energy storage system (BESS) and the electrical grid. Gravel roads will be created within the project site to access the inverter stations.
Our reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will be comparable to taking over 2,500 vehicles off the road each year.
The proposed solar farm has the capacity to produce up to 12 megawatts (MW) and approximately 20,000 MWh annually. This is equivalent to powering over 2,800 Alberta homes each year. Due to the amount of sunlight in Alberta, solar power efficiency and output is much higher than in other geographical locations in Canada. Historical weather data is being used to finalize a design that will maximize generation performance given local weather conditions. A high potential for solar power generation is anticipated at this site as it faces south and is relatively unobstructed by topography or vegetation.
The E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant will consume the majority of power generated by the solar farm. If there is any excess power generated by the solar farm, it will either be stored in our BESS or fed to the provincial electricity grid.
Solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible and are constructed with anti-reflection coating. Panels currently available on the market reflect as little as two percent of incoming sunlight, about the same as water. However, in certain situations, the glass surfaces of the panels can produce some glint and glare.
To better understand the potential of glare occurrence, we engaged a third party to model our proposed installation. The results of the study told us that the project is expected to have either no glare or low levels of glare at most locations, including the residences along the east and west ridges of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. Along the recreational trail located south and west of the project site which overlooks the proposed solar farm, up to 45 minutes of glare per day may occur on clear, sunny mornings between March and September.
The study results indicate that looking at the solar farm from the trail during these times will be similar to looking at the sun reflecting off a lake. At these times, the reflection from the panels could cause you to glance away or temporarily experience spots in your vision. The glare study also identified that drivers using Anthony Henday Drive will not experience glare from the solar farm.
We do not anticipate an increased level of noise in the area as a result of this project being operational. If approved, the inverter stations that will be located throughout the project area are the only equipment that will generate some sound. To help mitigate this, we will house the inverters within enclosures.
A noise study was conducted to ensure that the proposed equipment will meet the City of Edmonton's Community Standards Bylaw for Noise Control and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Rule 012 for Noise Control. Based on our preliminary design, the cumulative sound level for the project is below the permissible sound level specified by the AUC.
Inverter stations convert electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the form of electricity used by the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant, as well as our homes and businesses.