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Construction underway on Aldersyde solar farm

Steel structures, which will hold the solar panels, are being installed by TC Energy crews on the east side of Highway 2A.

Drivers travelling on Highway 2A south of Aldersyde may notice some new structures have sprung up in recent weeks. 

TC Energy has begun construction on the Saddlebrook Solar and Storage Project on 434 Avenue east of the highway, which is expected to generate 81 megawatts of energy – enough to power 20,000 homes annually. This is the first utility-scale project to be fully developed and delivered by the energy company. 

Media relations specialist Reid Fiest said pre-construction on the site began in October and now the project is moving ahead to the next phase. 

"What you are seeing right now is our crews completing the steel foundation across the site that the solar panels are being attached to and will be attached to over the next year," he explained. 

"With these steel foundations being installed, and we basically have the majority of those installed, we’re at about 25 per cent overall completion of the project at this point." 

The project is on track to be completed this year, Fiest added. 

Workers will move ahead by attaching the panels to the structures, before wiring them into the grid. 

"Beyond that, the crews will work to connect the solar panels so that they’re ready to collect the solar energy and generate 81 mw of zero carbon energy that we’re excited to soon be adding to the Alberta electrical grid," he said. 

According to Fiest, the most significant impact on traffic in the area has likely come and gone, though there are possibilities for disruptions until the spring. Most of the required equipment will be on site at that time. 

When the project was approved by the Alberta Utility Commission in December 2021, plans indicated the solar power plant would generate 102.5 megawatts, The decision was made last September to downsize the project which required the re-submission of a noise impact assessment and glare study that were submitted with the original application. 

The company is investing $146 million in the project and is receiving $10 million from Emissions Reduction Alberta. 

During the construction phase, 140 employees will be on site. Upon completion, the solar farm will have two full-time workers. 

Lauryn Heintz

About the Author: Lauryn Heintz

Lauryn covers Okotoks and Foothills County news for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips email [email protected]
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