solar farm in Amstein, Germany
OptiSolar, a California manufacturer of thin-film silicon solar cells, is building the world's largest solar farm in Sarnia, Ontario. (just north of Detroit) formerly famous for its pollution. Now 40 megawatts will be generated from a huge farm of over 900 acres. Currently the biggest farm in the world is the Erlasee 12 megawatt farm in Germany.
OptiSolar chose Ontario because the government owned utilities buy solar power for 42 cents per kilowatt/hour, which is a significant premium over the 9 cents I pay Bullfrog for clean wind power or the 5.5 cents other Ontarians pay for the usual mix of hydro, nuclear and coal. We suppose the economics work because solar works best at peak loads on hot days when air conditioners are on full and they would normally have to fire up the very expensive natural gas plants. (Coal is supposed to be phased out by 2014) Read Tyler Hamilton in ::The Star
As always in such things, not everyone is happy.
"We really need a much more aggressive approach on both renewables and (energy conservation) and we're still not getting that," said Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada.
"The solar project is a small part of the bigger picture and ultimately we're faced with a government that has cancelled its phase-out of coal generation and is planning to invest ... in nuclear power."
Energy Minister Dwight Duncan acknowledged the solar project represents only about two-tenths of 1 per cent of Ontario's generating capacity, but said it will create enough clean energy to power about 6,000 homes and takes pressure off the grid. ::The Star