Work has begun on two small ground mounted solar generation power projects in Algonquin Highlands.
Leftovers of the former provincial Liberal government’s Fit 4 program, Soventix is commencing with two 600kW-generating projects, each on five acres of land in the township. One is just north of Carnarvon, and the other further north along Highway 35 across the highway from Boshkung Lake. Both sites are leased.
The projects first came to Algonquin Highlands council back in July 2015. The council of the day granted blanket support.
Soventix’s Canadian managing director, Michael Kendon, told The Highlander on Tuesday it has taken them more than four years to get the projects to where they are today. They applied, and were successful, under the feed-in-tarriff program. They then had stages of engineering, planning, costing and financing. They are doing other projects in Canada and across the world.
“So, it’s not like it ever went away. There’s always that kind of initial amount of information that goes out when a municipality lends it support to the project … and from a public perspective it’s been pretty much invisible until the stage where we’re at now,” he said.
Residents of Carnarvon have noted there has been blasting just north of town. Kendon said there is some blasting of rock to access the two sites and also to put in the piles that the solar panels will be attached to.
“The two projects are in construction. So, it means that the people that are working on them are doing whatever they need to get access roads in and to get the connection lines,” he said.
The managing director said they are employing local contractors to do the preliminary site preparation work. It won’t take long, either, he said.
“These things should be built and functional within the next 30 to 60 days. The whole project is comparatively very simple to put together once you have all the elements lined up.”
He said they will install piles, racks, panels, wiring and a transformer to connect to the Hydro grid. The projects have a life of 20 years. He said they will not be visible from the ground.
“The end result is two solar energy projects that are generating electricity out of sight of everybody, injecting power into the utility grid,” Kendron said. “Increasing the amount of renewable-derived energy that’s used in the area. That’s a fact and that’s a good thing to us.
“We want to do what we can to help shift energy supply and generation away from carbon sources or detrimental sources and go to renewable sources, because this planet … it’s got some challenges. And, these might be small, but you add a lot of small things together and you can make an impact.”
He lauded the province for ending its reliance on coal. He said Soventix chose Algonquin Highlands because both sites are easily accessible to transmission lines and are not on agricultural land. He said in addition to the benefit of “the energy consumed in the local area is going to be greened up a little bit more” local contractors are being used and the landowners will make some money.
“We tend to think this is a positive thing; and it might have taken a while to get to this point but here we are.”