First Light – Canada's Largest Fully Operational Solar Energy Park

aerial photograph of the First Light solar energy park in Stone Mills, Ontario, Canada
First Light will generate more than 10 million kilowatt hours, enough electricity to power approximately 1,000 homes.

First Light is Canada’s largest fully operational solar energy park. The 9.1-megawatt project, located in Stone Mills, Ontario, was developed under a joint venture between SunEdison and SkyPower Corp. and financed by Nord/LB. The system, covering 90 acres of land, approximately the size of 50 Canadian football fields, began transmitting energy to Hydro One Networks, the largest electricity transmission and distribution company in Ontario, on September 30.

SunEdison and SkyPower expect First Light to generate more than 10 million kilowatt hours, enough electricity to power approximately 1,000 homes in its first year of operation, the equivalent of taking almost 1,800 cars off the road and removing 8,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

“The opening of this solar farm is part of the growing momentum for green energy as we work together to eliminate coal fired electricity generation in Ontario,” said George Smitherman, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.

“We are extremely happy that Sky Power-SunEdison chose Stone Mills to construct First Light,” said the Reeve of the Township of Stone Mills, Debbie Thompson. “We are proud to say that Stone Mills Township is now home to one of North America’s largest solar energy parks.”

“This is a great example of how our community is contributing to the generation of clean, green energy for Ontarians,” said the Warden of Lennox and Addington, Gord Schermerhorn. “This project is a welcome addition to our county’s industrial base and we look forward to welcoming similar type projects in the future.”

Kerry Adler, CEO of SkyPower, said, “We are grateful for the support of the Government of Ontario, the local community, the Ontario Power Authority and Hydro One, which have all helped make First Light a reality. Working together, we have developed a progressive model for the delivery of clean, renewable energy in Ontario and look forward to many more exciting projects like this.”

SunEdison COO Carlos Domenech commented, “Ontario provides a good example of how governments can foster responsible growth and development. We owe thanks to the Province for their support in making First Light the first fully operational utility scale solar deployment in Canada, and for making Ontario an attractive venue for large-scale PV solar. With the strong partnerships developed here, SunEdison looks forward to developing future rooftop and ground mount solar systems throughout the Province.”

“We are extraordinarily gratified to see this project come on stream,” said Colin Andersen, President and CEO, Ontario Power Authority. “It is a significant milestone to helping us build a better future and achieve our renewable energy targets. We expect First Light will provide a showcase to other communities and developers interested in joining the clean energy revolution as we roll out the Green Energy Act.”

“Hydro One is entirely focused on providing enabling infrastructure that will help this province realize its green energy potential, said Laura Formusa, President and CEO, Hydro One Inc. “We are proud to have played a role in connecting this important project to the grid.”

Vinod Mukani Senior Director for NORD/LB Americas said, “SunEdison, SkyPower and the people of Ontario have achieved a significant milestone with this first active solar park in Canada. NORD/LB financed First Light as part of our commitment to renewables and the dynamic market for solar development. We believe that First Light, and similar projects that will follow, will deliver returns to investors and citizens alike.”

During construction of First Light, SunEdison and SkyPower worked closely with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources to successfully preserve habitat for the endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike.

SunEdison is North America’s largest solar energy services provider. The company finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed solar energy services to its commercial, government and utility hosts. In 2008, SunEdison delivered more kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy than any other solar services provider in North America.

SkyPower is the leading independent renewable energy developer in Canada, and possesses proven expertise in developing, building, and managing both large-scale and micro-generation wind and solar power projects. SkyPower has developed a national footprint, with a substantial number of projects at various stages of development across Canada, in select U.S. States, India, and Panama representing thousands of megawatts of potential nameplate capacity. SkyPower continues to help many different jurisdictions meet their increasing demand for cleaner, non-emitting renewable energy solutions.

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.

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