Toronto’s SkyPower Limited (SkyPower) has announced plans to build a new 10 MW solar panel installation at Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The project will help to create up to 100 jobs for graduates of the region’s solar panel installation courses and when complete, it will mark the first system of its size built on First Nations land in Canada.
SkyPower finances, develops, owns, and manages solar projects across Ontario. Its 9 MW First Light I project in Stone Mills debuted in 2009 as Canada’s first-ever utility-scale solar park. The company helped to create more than 100 jobs in the region during the project’s construction and the facility generates enough solar energy to power up to 10,000 homes. SkyPower’s latest project in Fort William is currently under construction and will involve approximately 45,000 solar panels installed over about forty hectares (100 acres) of land. The solar company plans to complete the project by the summer of 2011 and expects it to generate enough solar energy to power 17,000 homes and offset thousands of tonnes, annually, of the greenhouse gases produced by conventional energy sources such as oil or coal.
Region’s Solar Industry Supported by Ontario’s Green Energy Act
Ontario benefits from a robust solar industry that is buoyed by its Green Energy and Green Economy Act (Green Energy Act). The Act was signed into law in 2009 and gave the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) the tools it required to offer its feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The FIT helps to create jobs and stimulates the economy by paying green energy producers high prices – up to 80.2 cents per kW-hour – for power they generate using solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric installations of varying sizes. It also gives rise to new educational streams like solar panel installation courses and post-secondary green tech programs.
With its latest project in Fort William, SkyPower continues to contribute green energy solutions to Ontario’s power supply mix while it takes advantage of the favourable business climate created by the FIT. “This successful partnership demonstrates our commitment to strategic partnerships in renewable energy,” says the company’s President and CEO, Kerry Adler, “and we continue to explore similar opportunities to ensure a brighter future for future generations.”