Flexrack to work with Alltrade to complete construction at 182MW Canadian solar portfolio

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Flexrack will work on the 101MW Saddlebrook solar-plus-storage project in Alberta, Canada. Image: Flexrack

Flexrack, a subsidiary of South Korean solar manufacturer Qcells, has signed an agreement with Canadian engineering, procurement and construction firm Alltrade Industrial Contractors to assist the development of two under-construction solar projects in Canada, with a combined capacity of 182MW.

The company will provide its fixed-tilt mounting technology for the final steps of construction at the 101MW Saddlebrook solar-plus-storage project and the 81MW Scotford facility, both of which are under construction in the Canadian province of Alberta. The former project is owned by Canadian power company TC Energy, while the latter is being built by US independent power producer Silicon Ranch, and both companies expect to finish construction work at the projects by the end of this year.

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“We selected Flexrack by Qcells on these two projects due to their exceptional reputation and extensive experience with weather-challenged solar projects in cold climates, including throughout Canada, and the Northeastern US,” said Kevin Ritzmann, senior director at Alltrade.

“We first partnered with Flexrack on several projects in Ontario 12 years ago and we have always appreciated their ability to not only provide high quality mounting technology but also timely and thorough engineering expertise.”

The news is significant as Canada looks to expand its renewables sector, with the government introducing tax credit incentives to mirror the groundbreaking Inflation Reduction Act passed in the US earlier this year.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will invest up to US$14.7 billion (C$20 billion) as the government looks to decarbonise the nation’s electricity sector by 2035, and the Saddlebrook project is already the beneficiary of around US$7.3 million (C$10 million) in funding from Emissions Reduction Alberta, a renewable energy investment fund operated by the Alberta government.

The Saddlebrook project is also notable for its battery storage component. Once the developers finish work on the solar generation part of the project, they will begin installation of a storage project with an output of 6.5MW and a capacity of 40MWh, at which TC Energy expects to finish construction by the end of 2024, and is the latest example of new battery storage installations in the Canadian renewables sector.

However, questions remain as to the ability of the Scotford facility to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s net zero transition, with owners Silicon Ranch having already announced that power produced at the project will be sold to oil major Shell, which will use the electricity to power its Scotford refinery for the next 25 years.

This electricity will meet one-fifth of the refinery’s electricity demands, and the use of power generated at a solar facility will decarbonise the refinery’s operations to an extent, but it remains the case that electricity from the Scotford solar project will be used to power fossil fuel production.

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