New off-grid solar project powers telecommunication site near Grande Prairie

Edmonton – ATCO has announced the energization of Western Canada’s largest off-grid solar project, located at the Saddle Hills Telecommunication Site northwest of Grande Prairie.

The system is capable of generating 75 kilowatts and storing 250 kilowatt hours of energy, and will provide 100 percent of the power required at the unmanned site, which is an integral part of ATCO’s telecommunications network.

“Through this project, we have gained valuable insight into the application of off-grid solar solutions that is directly transferrable and scalable for our customers in other sectors,” said Paul Goguen, Senior Vice President & General Manager, ATCO Electric Transmission Division.

The telecommunications site, which needs its own source of energy in order to function, was previously powered by propane thermal electric generators. As the generators neared the end of their life cycles and the need for power at the location grew, ATCO had a vision for a cleaner and less expensive way to keep the site up and running – solar energy.

With a cooler climate and fewer hours of daylight at the site, the company needed to ensure its solution was both technically viable and cost-effective. ATCO partnered with the Alternative Energy Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) through NAIT’s Alternative Energy Capstone Project to address the technical challenges of building and maintaining solar panels in a remote northerly location.

The project is the latest in a growing suite of clean and innovative solutions offered by the company. The launch of ATCOenergy in February of this year brought more choice to Albertans, including green energy options for its customers. ATCOenergy customers can choose either 25 percent or 100 percent of their electricity to come from renewable sources.

Feature image: Randy Vanderveen

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