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SunAlta updates Mountain View County council on proposed solar project

Proposed solar project in Mountain View County would have a 30-year lifespan, generating 9.32 gigawatt hours of energy per year “which is the equivalent of 709 homes," says proponent

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has been updated on a proposed solar project and community amenity on an 80-acre parcel in the McDougal Flats area west of Sundre.

The review came from a SunAlta delegation at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

Planning has been underway for the McDougal Flats project, located in a former county-owned gravel pit along Rge. Rd. 60 south of Highway 584.

SunAlta’s Jacob Goldmann said the current proposed project is based on 27.8 acres and would involve 400 watt solar panels of 16,640 modules located in the northwest quarter of the site.

The project would have a 30-year lifespan, generating 9.32 gigawatt hours of energy per year “which is the equivalent of 709 homes,” he said.

SunAlta may be interested in expanding the project size to 40 acres, he said.

“One of the things we would like to explore with the county once the county has made the decision for the land use is obviously doing a larger re-design. We have the minimum set at 5.26 megawatts DC (direct current) of capacity. With more land we believe we can push that more to nine or 10 megawatts of DC,” he said.

“We would like to go back and increase the sizing just to project economics, inflationary costs, climbing interest rates. It became a better financial project to use more of the land.”

Project development to date includes signing the municipal development agreement with the county, and front-end engineering design analysis.

“We have actually completed all of the Alberta Environment and Parks referrals and federal regulations for wildlife and construction requirements and for the monitoring of the project and reclamation,” he said.  

Remaining development activities include stakeholder consultation, subdivision and development permitting, noise and glare studies, finalizing a ground lease, Alberta Utilities Commission approvals, building permits, and construction contracts, he said. 

The plan is to start construction in 2024, he said.

Council accepted the delegation report as information.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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