Starwood Energy closes financing on 30MW solar project for Sault Ste. Marie
When complete, combined Starwood PV projects will provide a third to half of city's annual peak electric load.
Starwood Energy Group Global, a private investment firm focused on energy infrastructure projects, announced that its affiliate, Starwood SSM2 Canada Incorporated, has secured financing for a 30 megawatt (MW) AC solar photovoltaic project in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The new project is in addition to Starwood’s 20 MW Starwood SSM1 solar plant, which closed financing in December 2009 and is scheduled to be completed in the next three months if not sooner, the company says.
Starwood SSM2 will consist of three 10 MW AC solar photovoltaic power generation projects will connect to local utility PUC Distribution, Inc. When complete, the project will be among the largest of its kind in North America. Once built, Starwood SSM2 will provide power for up to 12,000 Ontario homes, generating their power during the middle of the day, a time of highest demand on the local power grid.
"For a community of 75,000, we are fast becoming one of the largest when it comes to green technology," said Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation CEO Bruce Strapp. "The second phase of Starwood’s solar initiative further supports our branded name of being the Alternative Energy Capital of North America. The EDC is appreciative of the hard work by those in both the public and private sector who supported Starwood and its partners."
"The 30 MW of new capacity, when combined with the 20 MW that is about to be connected to our grid, will result in PUC Distribution having the greatest amount of solar generation in Ontario," added Brian Curran, CEO of PUC Distribution, Inc. "With a summer peak of between 90 MW and 100 MW and a winter peak of between 140 MW and 150 MW for Sault Ste. Marie, locally generated solar electricity will be supplying a significant portion of the community’s electrical demand."
In addition, the company says the facilities will reduce yearly carbon emissions by an amount equal to displacing 5,700 cars and light trucks each driving 12,000 miles per year or to planting more than 24 million trees in Ontario’s forests. Local jobs will be created for engineering, construction and ongoing management, operations, and maintenance of the new solar facilities, which are scheduled to be operational in the third quarter of 2011.
In conjunction with closing, Q-Cells North America was given the green light to begin construction on the project and will provide operations and maintenance services post-completion. The German-based photovoltaic company recently entered into a joint venture (Ontario Solar PV Fields Inc.) with Cambridge, Ontario-based ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. for the development of large scale renewable energy projects in Ontario. However, the company refused to comment on whether the new venture would be involved in the Starwood SSM2 project.