A solar project proposed near Red Willow within Stettler County has a new owner. (County of Stettler web photo)

Greek company taking over solar project in Stettler County

Stettler County solar plant one of five being built in Alberta by Mykilineos Energy and Metals

A Greek company is taking the reins of a $1.7-billion project to build five solar energy plants in Alberta including the County of Stettler.

Mytilineos Energy and Metals has announced it will acquire the portfolio of Westbridge Renewable Energy, which had five solar projects planned that would add 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the province’s power grid, roughly double Alberta’s current solar generation capacity.

A March news release from Westbridge said the project would include about 454,000 bi-facial solar panels which can “receive and transform solar radiation from both the top and the bottom sides” which are “well-suited” to Alberta’s hostile winters as being snow-covered can actually boost solar production.

The company anticipated the facility would have a 35-year lifespan.

In announcing the acquisition on June 1, Mytilineos said the projects combined will generate 2.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year of renewable energy, enough to power 200,000 Canadian homes for a year.

Projects in Vulcan County, near Georgetown, and in Special Area No. 2, east of Calgary, are the furthest along. The two projects will generate 610 megawatts (MW) a year and are expected to reach “ready-to-build” status by the end of this year. The other three projects are expected to reach that point in mid-2024.

Mytilineos said it was lured to Canada by federal investment tax credits that could offset up to 30 per cent, or up to $430 million, of the cost of the projects.

Alberta was the “obvious choice” for the company’s first foray into Canada because the province has “some of the highest irradiation in Canada, making it an ideal location for the development of solar projects in the country.

“Alberta is one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in North America and has a target, as per its RenewableEnergy ACt, to achieve 30 per cent production from renewable energy sources by 2030.”

The company also credited Alberta with developing a “streamlined permitting process which favours appropriate planning and predictability.”

“True to its policy of expanding its Renewables business internationally, Mytilineos has taken early advantage of the motives that the Canadian government is granting to new renewable developments and decided to proceed with the investment, the biggest so far of the Energy Business Unit in the history of Mytilineos,” said company chairman and CEO Evangelos Mytilineos in a statement.

Mytilineos got into the renewable energy market eight years ago and is now considered a leading developer worldwide with a range of solar, storage and wind projects. Its portfolio now includes 10.5 GW of electricity projects in North and South America, Australia Asia and Europe.

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