Capital Power celebrates one year of solar power in Strathmore

·2 min read

Capital Power celebrated one year of being a part of the Strathmore community, with a free pancake breakfast at the Strathmore Legion branch #10 on Aug. 26.

Michael Sheeham, senior advisor for stakeholder engagement, said the team is excited to see the results coming in from their first solar project in Canada and are optimistic about its continued operation.

“We’re quite excited about it … it’s our first solar facility (in Canada) and we have another facility that’s currently under construction in southern Alberta. We hope it’s just the first to come,” said Sheeham. “The community has been very welcoming, they’ve been really easy to deal with and to work with and it’s been a real cooperative effort to get the project up and running with the Town of Strathmore.”

The pancake breakfast ran over the course of the morning, attracting dozens of residents who were awake early enough to drop by.

By the end of the celebration, Sheeham said turnout was much higher than expected which the team was happy to host and to feed.

The solar facility is sized to produce 40 megawatts of electricity, with the panels in place designed to last for roughly 30 years.

The electricity generated through the facility is sold to the grid, thus the largest impact for the community generated by the solar farm is through its tax payments to the Town of Strathmore.

Following the initial success of Strathmore’s facility, Senior vice president of construction and engineering for Capital Power, Steve Owens said the team has no intent of slowing down.

“We will continue to look at development opportunities within Alberta … we have a portfolio of locations where we’re planning on developing both solar and wind,” said Owens.

The project was not developed without its kinks. Over the course of construction, it became slightly over budget for the company due to supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, Owens said the project was ultimately completed on time.

Strathmore’s solar farm also engages Whispering Cedars Ranch, a local farm that has provided sheep to keep the grass around the solar panels short.

“They obviously take care of the grass for us and the weeds, which of course, helps with safety from a fire prevention perspective,” said Sheeham.

Over 600 sheep currently reside at the solar farm to maintain the property, as opposed to Capital Power having to rely on traditional grass-cutting methods.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times