Land clearing has started on the second phase of Canada’s largest off grid solar farm.
This 7,500 panel, 2.6 megawatt solar farm project covers approximately 6.5 hectares in Fort Chipewyan and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,170 tonnes annually by displacing 800,000 liters of diesel fuel per year that must be trucked into the community.
Phase one, which was a 600 – kilowatt system, was completed this past summer by ATCO. The second, larger phase is owned by Three Nations Energy (3NE), a company formed by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Metis Local 125.
The land clearing for the project includes removing the trees that are located on the site and clearing the small shrubs that currently occupy the space.
“We’re just getting ready to start on it now,” says Mikisew councillor Calvin Waquan, who is president of Three Nations Energy. “We’ll be using heavy equipment to clear the land and drive in piles to support the panels. “We’ll be using local contractors who own heavy equipment rather than bringing it in. It will likely be smaller equipment as we utilize what we can up here. It’s mostly small trees and shrubs currently on the land.”
Once the land clearing is completed, the next stage of construction will be to drive the piles into the ground to support the panels. The target completion date for the project is November 2020.