A solar farm three kilometres west of Burdett may be breaking ground later this year if the last feasible steps are approved in the coming months.
County of Forty Mile council heard an updated presentation of the process from Alberta Solar One Inc. at its March 27 regular council meeting.
The project has been a four year process and Alberta Solar One representatives wanted council to approve an amendment to the Land-use Bylaw to have the land reclassified from Agriculture to Solar Energy Facility to get the project underway.
The purpose of the reclassification would allow for the company to build a 9.5 megawatt solar energy facility on southwest corner of Range Road 103 and Township Road 104.
“We started our search right across southern Alberta, primary because it had (the best) solar resource in the country,” said Hugo Navarro, vice president of finance and corporate for Alberta Solar One.
“We knew we wanted to be in southern Alberta. But we wanted also to be somewhere where there wasn’t so much wind, that we had to be concerned about it. From there we moved on to investigating what were the best points of inter-connection on the grid, knowing that grid cost were a concern for Albertans and that could also dry up the cost of a project.
“We were very lucky to find this location in Burdett that had capacity on the local lines that could accept the project we were proposing.”
After pinning down a location, it was a matter of finding a landlord who was willing to host the project, he added.
Navarro says adjacent landowners will not be affected by the project.
“It’s low profile project,” he said.
“It’s not a terribly big project. You can’t see it unless your really close. It doesn’t make much noise .”
With the public input, challenges are with weed control and invasive species, noise and sight lines.
The proposed facility is still under review by the Alberta Utilities Commission with the plan to commence with construction this summer.
It is expected the AUC permit is to be received by the end of April, says Navarro.
“Those are the bigger components of the project and it’s just really sorting out something with an EBC contractor who would build the project and making sure we’re clear on what the market facing side is looking like,” he said.
Council approved the first reading of the Land-use bylaw amendment and will have a public hearing at their April 24 meeting before doing the last two readings.