Yes, we will plant native grasses. The ground cover will be low-growing and will require little maintenance. No pesticides will be used or needed, and there will be only very occasional vegetation control on the site.
What is the impact on birds, for instance are there any potential nesting sites for birds under the panels? Will there be flowering plants for butterflies and will there be an impact on insects?
The project is located on previously cultivated land so that the land is regularly disturbed during the growing season. Where possible, we will plant pollinator-friendly grasses underneath the solar panels to create a robust new habitat for bees, birds, insects, small mammals and other wildlife. In addition, we will use low maintenance vegetation under the panels to minimize the impact on wildlife.
There is no structural rainwater collection on the racking system. The water will roll off the panels and fall on the ground surface. The soil will absorb most of the moisture. We will control the flow of water on the site through a stormwater management plan to limit potential erosion.
Can you build more solar projects with switches to DC in the event that an ice storm causes a power outage in midwinter? We lost power for almost 24 hours.
If a major event occurs on the distribution line, the project will most likely have to be disconnected from the grid for safety reasons and it will not be authorized to operate in a stand alone mode.
There are many criteria to consider when choosing a location for a solar project, such as interconnection capacity, environmental sensitivities, available area, appropriate zoning, etc. This site meets all of these criteria. In addition, the proximity of a significant load center is an advantage to the grid since it reduces the need for new transmission lines and it also reduces electrical losses. As a mitigation measure, efforts were made to limit the visual impact by choosing a site at least 650 metres from the nearest residential area.
The ground cover will be low-growing and require little maintenance. No pesticides will be used or needed, and there will be only very occasional vegetation control on the site. If a rodent problem is identified, we will take appropriate action to address the situation.
Are you looking to develop additional solar projects in the Regina area, and if so do you have a tentative timeline for future projects?
We do not have plans for additional solar projects in the Regina area.
Solar panels are usually certified for 25 years, and many last 40 years. Do you have plans for the project to have a life beyond 20 years?
The Power Purchase Agreement with SaskPower allows for a 20-year operating period after which the infrastructure must be removed. However, if there was an opportunity in the future to extend the project's life, we would certainly consider it. In any event, the infrastructure will need to be removed at the end of the facility's useful life, with much of it to be recycled, including the steel, copper and solar PV modules. The land will be reclaimed and returned to its owner.
Can you build larger projects built upon individual household shares so that even if I live in a condo, I can pay only for my power use through solar?
This resembles a cooperative arrangement and has more to do with an eventual program that SaskPower could develop in the future. In the case of this project, it is not possible.
We do not anticipate that this project will negatively impact traffic in Uplands.
There will be no battery storage system installed in this project as this was not a requirement of SaskPower’s Request For Proposal. In addition, it would increase the cost of the project.
Why was battery storage not included in this particular project? Was it financially or technically infeasible?
The addition of a battery storage system in the project would have increased the cost of the project and make it less competitive in the Request For Proposal process conducted by SaskPower.
The construction of the Foxtail Grove Solar Facility will require many skilled tradespeople including electricians, linesmen, racking/module installers and equipment operators. Construction will take 5 to 6 months, with approximately 50 workers onsite during the peak period.
The panels will be installed at a 35 degree angle. The bifacial design of the modules will allow the snow to melt in winter since panels warm up when they generate energy. Even if covered in snow, a bifacial panel will generate energy from the radiation bouncing back from the ground.
Does the City of Regina have any plans to upgrade Tower Road (e.g., paving), given that there may be an increase in traffic?
To our knowledge, no improvements are planned by the City as part of the project. The components of a solar project are not oversized or overweight.
Although there is room on the site for additional panels, there are other constraints that would need to be considered to expand this project, one of them being the limited capacity of the 25 kV line where the project is interconnected. For this reason, we don’t have plans to increase the size of the project.
The price of electricity including the interconnection cost as evaluated by SaskPower is 7,4 ¢/kWh. This is slightly lower than the average cost of 7,5 ¢/kWh that SaskPower pays for its power (more information is available on SaskPower’s website: https://www.saskpower.com/Our-Power-Future/Powering-2030/Generating-Power-as-an-Individual/Using-the-Power-You-Make/Net-Metering). Since the solar energy that will be generated is carbon free, it will help to reduce the carbon tax assessed by the federal government on monthly SaskPower bills.