A solar farm for Sun Rivers makes a lot of sense

Kamloops is lucky to have some shining examples of master planned communities that are innovative, aesthetically pleasing, and offer unique pathways for economic success for our First Nations communities. Sun Rivers is a perfect example of all these things. The quality of life here is excellent and it can be a sustainability leader for other communities to emulate.

For many years now a vacant piece of land in the Talasa area of Sun Rivers has been waiting for the right development opportunity. This piece of land is approximately 1.5 Hectares (3.6 Acres in size). It is now mostly used by residents in the three condominium complexes to walk dogs. It has a lot more potential.

Sun Rivers is a geoexchange (geothermal) heating community and the electricity demands associated with this technology are significant. The utility company in the area, Corix Utilities, is an off-taker of electricity from BC Hydro. They are likely paying a premium for this electricity for Sun Rivers given the high demand charges coming from the geothermal systems here. As the community grows, the cost of this electricity will go up.

Now is the perfect time to build a modern and smart solar farm on this parcel of land based on dual axis tracker technology and using the most advanced bifacial solar modules. A bifacial module makes power on both sides and light bouncing off the ground makes energy on the backside too!

Here’s what the land looks like currently.

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Sweet Spot Solar has designed the following draft solar farm for this land as a thought experiment and to stimulate discussion.

Using the largest and most powerful trackers on the market, the Sentry Mega, we could easily fit 19 trackers on this parcel of land and generate more than 700,000 kWh/year of energy. This is more than enough to provide for all of the common energy needs of the three condo buildings, and to have surplus for 20+ electric vehicle chargers.

It would look like this, and there is still plenty of room for people to walk dogs in the field with a little extra shade here and there. It would not impair grazing of our resident Big Horn Sheep, and it would be a fantastic example of what a community can do with just a little creativity.

A solar farm like this would cost approximately $1.5M (plus the cost of the land; maybe a lease can be arranged instead of a purchase), and there may even exist an opportunity to sell shares in this solar farm as a community project. To learn more about this idea, check out an earlier posting from us here.

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We have even included in the model for this solar farm the condo buildings themselves and they create no significant shading issue for this area.

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Michael Mehta