World’s largest PV facility opens in Ontario
Sarnia-based 80MW installation to power more than 12,000 homes.
Enbridge Inc. and First Solar, Inc. have completed the expansion of the Sarnia Solar Project from 20 megawatts (MW) to 80 MW of capacity, making it the largest operating photovoltaic facility in the world.
Oringinally a 20 MW facility Enbridge acquired in October 2009, the facility now generates enough power to power more than 12,800 homes thereby reducing CO2 emmissions by 39,000 tonnes per year. At a cost of approximately CAD$300 million, the upgraded facility has approximately 1.3 million of Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar’s thin film modules, with a surface area 973,000 m2, and spread out over 950 acres
First Solar engineered and built the second phase of the solar project under contract to Enbridge using its thin film photovoltaic technology, which has been deployed in 1.5 gigawatts of installations in the U.S. and Europe. According to the company, its PV cells have less than 2% of the equivalent semiconductor content found in crystalline silicon PV modules.
In addition, the cells use cadmium telluride (CdTe) as the semiconductor material, which is less susceptible to cell temperature fluctuation. In addition, the company says the material allows the cells to harvest electricity from low and diffuse light, making them productive throughout the day.
The power output of the facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority on a 20-year power purchase agreement under the terms of the Ontario Government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Programme.