Construction on Kimberley’s unique SunMine project, the largest solar farm in western Canada, is proceeding on pace.
According to the latest project update, last week the Prime Contractor Conergy Canada and construction manager SkyFire Energy completed the installation of all 4,032 photovoltaic modules.
Modules are now arranged in ninety six 38 foot by 20 foot tables and have been mounted on masts topped with a specialized tracking system that will rotate to track the sun. There are 42 photovoltaic modules per table top. Once the installation and commissioning is complete the table tops in the picture (right) will tilt at similar angles to maximize solar exposure and energy generation.
Trackers provide approximately 30 per cent more energy than fixed panels.
The trackers’ sensors also feature load sensing capabilities and will increase the tilt angle to dump snow as needed and adjust the tilt angle to reduce windload. Performance will be digitally monitored by a data acquisition and monitoring system.
Construction continues on pace for operation in early 2015. Mayor Ron McRae says that it looks like everything will be ready to go in January.
In parallel to the tracker installation, trenching and installation of cabling is complete and electricians have begun wiring the trackers and connecting the string inverters that convert the suns energy into electricity that is suitable for delivery via a powerline to the BC Hydro system. String inverters allow for segmented power production in the solar array, providing more power production than centralized inverters which have been historically more popular.
Upcoming activities include installation of the powerline connecting SunMine to the Teck Kimberley substation and BC Hydro, and modifications to the substation itself.
Public access to the SunMine is prohibited, but there are areas in town where you can get a look at it.
Check out any of these viewpoints:
• Magic Line Trail, look East from the picnic table atop the second climb (Cardiac hill)
• Sunshine Corner in the Nordic Centre Trails, look East
• The trail from Duck Pond to Apache Trail in Forest Crowne, look East
• Driving North on Jim Ogilvie Way, North of Transfer Station, look Northeast