Largest solar farm in Canada coming to southern Alberta

Largest solar farm in Canada coming to southern Alberta

The largest solar energy project in Canada has received provincial approval and the company hopes to start construction in southern Alberta next year. 

“It will be, by far, the largest solar energy project in Canada and one of the largest in the world,” said Dan Balaban, president and CEO of Greengate, the Calgary-based company behind the array. 

He says the project in Vulcan County will include 1.5 million solar panels that will provide enough energy — 400 megawatts — to power 100,000 homes. 

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Can Solar Energy help save the declining bee population?

Can Solar Energy help save the declining bee population?

Though small, insects are at least partially responsible for pollinating nearly 75 percent of all crops world-wide consumed by humans in their daily diet. As man-made environmental stressors – including pesticides and land development – have increased, insect pollinators have lost habitats and species have declined significantly.

However, a team of Argonne researchers has been examining the potential benefits of establishing pollinator habitat at utility-scale solar energy (USSE) facilities to conserve pollinators and restore the ecosystem they provide. Looking at over 2,800 existing and planned USSE facilities in the contiguous United States, researchers in Argonne’s Environmental Science (EVS) division have found that the area around solar panels could provide an ideal location for the plants that attract pollinators.

Original Article by Greer Russel. For the full story, click here. 

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Researchers developing new technology which could increase panel efficiency to 80%

Researchers developing new technology which could increase panel efficiency to 80%

Don’t get too excited. What follows is a report about theoretical research in the lab which is a long way from commercial viability, but the implications of that research are simply staggering. Heat is the enemy of today’s solar panels. If they get too hot, their efficiency plummets. Researchers are working on ways to siphon some of that heat off and use it for other purposes, like making hot water.

Scientists at Rice University are taking a different approach — turning heat into light which can then be used to make electricity. They say their research could ultimately lead to solar panels that are 80% efficient. That would make panels that are four times more efficient than any commercially available panels today.

“Any hot surface emits light as thermal radiation,” Gururaj Naik, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, tells PV Magazine. “The problem is that thermal radiation is broadband while the conversion of light to electricity is efficient only if the emission is in a narrow band.”

Originally posted by Steve Hanley. For the full story, click here.

How Calgary became an unlikely location for a creative solar solution

How Calgary became an unlikely location for a creative solar solution

Rows of luxurious Audis hide from the sun under a canopy of solar panels on the north edge of Calgary, but it’s not the sun that poses a threat to these cars.

The 933 solar panels on this lot produce 306,000-kilowatt-hours of power, about 60 percent of the dealership’s yearly energy needs, and also protect the cars from the frequent hail storms that pummel the region each spring and summer and result in millions of dollars of damages for property and car owners.

As a result, the covering of solar panels here generates both power revenues and insurance savings for the Audi Royal Oak dealership, which was the first to install a solar canopy in Canada, though other dealerships in Southern Alberta – dubbed “Hailstorm Alley” by insurance companies – have since followed suit.

Originally posted by Geoffrey Morgan. For the full story, click here.

Solar-powered beer getting a warm reception

Solar-powered beer getting a warm reception

Randy and Denise Rowe say they’ve tripled their craft beer production three years after launching Off Grid Ales on the shores of Harvey Lake.

Using only solar panels and a wind turbine to generate power, the Rowes have expanded their output from six barrels per week to as many as 20 barrels at their business about 45 kilometers southwest of Fredericton.

Even on a cloudy week, Off-Grid Ales produces up to 2,000 bottles of brew

Original Post by Rachel Cave. For the full story, click here.