Three Nations Energy (3NE) is pleased to announce that its Fort Chipewyan Solar Farm – the largest isolated grid solar farm in Canada – is on-line and producing! The 2.2-megawatt facility has been sending power to the Fort Chipewyan electrical grid operated by ATCO since January 26th, 2021.
In February, the 3NE solar farm produced 41 MWh of electricity – about 4% of the total 1100 MWh consumed by the community for the month. While this is only a modest start, produced at a time of year when daylight hours are limited, month of May production is estimated at around 400 MWh. On sunny days in June and July, the solar farm will be supplying most or all of the community’s electricity needs and even using storage capacity in the ATCO owned battery energy storage system to store daytime surplus and supply night time power. This past February the 3NE farm, coupled with ATCO’s own 0.6 MH of solar panels, allowed ATCO to only have to run 1 of their 4 diesel generators for periods of time and still meet the community’s electricity requirements.
The solar farm construction project came in under budget allowing 3NE to purchase one more row of solar modules that’ll add 150 kW of additional capacity. All materials for this extra capacity were delivered to Fort Chip on the winter road in February, and construction is progressing rapidly with tie in expected before the end of June.
3NE is owned equally by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Fort Chipewyan Metis Association. The project, developed in partnership with ATCO, is now a finalist for at least three provincial, national and international awards (stay tuned!).