Travers solar project is a 400MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant proposed to be built in Vulcan County, Alberta, Canada. It will be the biggest solar power plant in Canada, upon commissioning.

Greengate Power Corporation, a renewable energy company based in Calgary, plans to develop the PV power project with an estimated investment of $500m.

Environmental impact studies for the project were initiated in 2017 and completed by 2018, while construction is expected to be started towards the end of 2019 with commissioning expected in 2021.

The Travers solar project is expected to generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of more than 111,000 homes in Alberta, while offsetting more than 472,000 tonnes (t) of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

The Canadian solar project is expected to create more than 200 full-time jobs during the construction phase and up to ten permanent jobs during the operation phase.

Travers solar project location and site details

The Travers solar project is proposed to be developed on 1,902ha of privately-owned, cultivated and grazing land located approximately 8km south-west of the Village of Lomond in the Vulcan County.

The project area features significant solar resources with average annual solar radiation greater than 4,800MJ/m­².

Travers solar park make-up

The 400MW Travers solar park will be installed with approximately 2.5 million solar photovoltaic (PV) modules mounted either on fixed-tilt racking systems or on single-axis trackers.

The project will involve a total of 166 inverter stations to convert the direct current (DC) power generated by each PV module into alternating current (AC) for further transmission.

The inverter stations will be connected via a combination of 34.5kV aboveground and underground collector lines to transmit electricity to the on-site substation.

Greengate Power will build the on-site collector construction designated as Little Bow 991S in the north-west portion of the project area.

Travers solar project operational life

The estimated operational life of the project is expected to be at least 35 years, after which it will be either decommissioned or repowered.

If decommissioned, the solar modules and racking systems will be salvaged and recycled, while the remaining infrastructure that are buried below 1.5m will be left in place to prevent further disturbance to the land.

Power transmission

Greengate Power applied to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to connect the Travers solar plant to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (AIES) in April 2019.

Operated by AESO, the AIES transmission and distribution system is the main grid in the region that provides approximately 85% of electricity in Alberta.

The Travers solar PV facility is proposed to be connected to the AIES grid through a new 240kV transmission line connecting an existing 240kV transmission line named 1005L, which is located to the west of the project area.

Greengate Power will be responsible for the construction of the new 240kV transmission line, while AltaLink, the transmission facility owner in the Lomond area, will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the line.

The proposed interconnection will also involve rebuilding of approximately 40m of the 1005L transmission line and the installation of two new 240kV steel pole structures on the existing line.