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Ontario solar project officially on the grid

Stationary solar panels offer a form of renewable energy.
Stationary solar panels offer a form of renewable energy.

Jill Colton, staff writer

July 22, 2011 — The Amherstburg solar park is officially open and already taking full advantage of the sun.

Power it up! Amherstburg solar park has around 58,000 panels.
Power it up! Amherstburg solar park has around 58,000 panels.

Thursday saw plenty of heat and sunshine across southern Ontario. Coincidently, the rays of light provided the ideal conditions for the official opening of the Amherstburg solar park.

The 20 megawatt solar facility is located about half an hour south of Windsor and cost $130 million to build.

The solar field is almost one square kilometre in size and consists of almost 58,000 solar panels.

Michael Bernstein is the President and CEO of Toronto-based Capstone Infrastructure Corporation. He says this project will produce a substantial amount of electricity.

“We're expecting about 38,000 megawatt hours every year. That's about the equivalent of powering roughly 4,000 houses annually.”

Typically, solar panels are fixed to the ground, hindering mobility. But Capstone's technology allows the panels to move in a unique way.

“The panels we use are on metal trackers -- they follow the sun,” says Bernstein. “They face east in the morning and track the direction of the sun during the day.”

This allows them to capture the maximum amount of solar energy by having the best possible angle. “This makes them 30 per cent more efficient than regular panels.”

The project is the first for Capstone, but they have a fairly large portfolio of power programs on the go in the renewable sector including a wind project, bio-mass and hydro.

Solar power is a renewable resource that impedes carbon emissions and noise. “Coming from a technological aspect, (solar power) is as clean energy as you can imagine.”

A solar farm is essentially a field that consists of solar panels. These planks collect energy from the sun and converts it to electricity.

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