One P.E.I. riding is about to become the greenest in Canada, after funding for a new solar energy array and storage facility was announced Thursday morning.
The Slemon Park Microgrid Project, a 100-acre, 10-megawatt solar array is expected to increase renewable energy used on P.E.I. by 3.5 per cent, making it an important step toward the Island becoming energy self-sufficient.
Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna, Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O'Regan, Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey and P.E.I. Transportation Minister Steven Myers made the announcement virtually.
“It’s unique. It could be the first industrial site in Canada to be green-powered,” said Morrissey. “There’s no riding I’m aware of that will have the green energy production that Egmont will have when these projects all come on stream, combined with the existing capacity in Egmont now.”
Earlier this year, the city of Summerside partnered with the federal and provincial governments, as well as international company Samsung Renewable Energy, to build a $69-million, 21-megawatt solar power farm, with an attached 20-megewatt hour capacity battery system.
The solar microgrid will power the residential neighbourhood as well as the industrial area of Slemon Park, a provincial crown corporation.
The federal government is investing a total of $12.3 million in this project through the Green Infrastructure Stream (GIS) and the Smart Grid Program. Both programs are part of the Government of Canada's Investing in Canada infrastructure plan.
The province is providing $12.7 million towards the project.
Morrissey sees the investments in solar energy to be similar to the Wind Energy Institute at North Cape established in the early 80s.
“Wind energy is now very common…. Solar is quickly catching up,” said Morrissey. “My interest as the member of parliament is in securing those investments that will pay long-term dividends to the riding.”