Travers Solar is a 465MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant being developed in Vulcan County in Alberta, Canada by Greengate Power and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
Construction of the solar project began in June 2021 with a total estimated investment of approximately C$700m ($566.2m). The power plant is expected to be one of the largest solar projects ever built in Canada once it becomes operational in late 2022. It will create approximately 500 full-time jobs during the construction phase.
The project will generate enough clean energy to power more than 150,000 homes annually throughout its lifetime of more than 35 years while offering substantial economic and environmental benefits to the Canadian province. It will offset over 472,000t of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Location of Travers Solar project
Located 8km southwest of the Village of Lomond in Vulcan County, the project sits on 3,300 acres of privately owned, cultivated and grazing land in Township 15, Ranges 20 and 21, west of the Fourth Meridian.
The site receives strong solar radiation, which increases the potential for solar energy generation.
Background of Travers Solar project
Greengate Power started the development of the Travers Solar with field studies in 2017. The studies covered wildlife surveys, vegetation studies, habitat mapping, desktop wetland delineation and informal field verification, which were completed in 2018. Results from the studies were submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for review in December 2018.
In August 2019, the project secured approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). Greengate collaborated with CIP to fund the further development, construction, and operation of the project in February 2020. CIP funds the project through Travers 2 Solar LP, a special-purpose entity, on behalf of the Copenhagen Infrastructure IV (CI IV) fund.
The additional interconnection studies conducted by Travers 2 Solar confirmed the availability of additional capacity on the existing transmission line to which the project will be connected. This resulted in the increase of the project capacity from an initial 400MW to 465MW in October 2020.
The project capacity increase led to optimisation in the other areas of the project, including a reduction in the project area from the original 4,700 acres to 3,300 acres, change from monofacial modules to bifacial modules, reduction in the number of power conversion stations from 168 to 153 and change from the fixed-tilt system to the single-axis tracking system.
Travers Solar project make-up
The solar plant will be installed with approximately 1.3 million monocrystalline bifacial solar panels, 153 inverters or power conversion stations, an electrical collection system and a project substation to transmit the power to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (AIES).
The inverters or power stations at the plant will be connected to the project substation through a combination of 34.5kV aboveground or underground collector system. The project substation will convert the direct current to alternating current and boost the voltage to 34.5kV before feeding the power to an existing 240kV transmission line located at the western portion of the project for transmission to the power grid.
Other supporting infrastructure at the solar project will include a meteorological station, roads to support material delivery during the construction period and access the site during its operations phase, and an operations and maintenance building.
Greengate and CIP entered a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with e-commerce giant Amazon to sell 400MW of the power generated from the solar plant. It is Amazon’s second renewable energy investment in Canada.
The PPA is part of Amazon’s commitment to power 100% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025, which is five years ahead of the original target of 2030.
Greengate Power and CIP selected Jinko Solar Canada to receive the monocrystalline bifacial solar panels for the Travers Solar project. PCL Construction was awarded the contract for the solar plant’s construction.
Norton Rose Fulbright, FIH Partners, and Navigatio Capital served as the advisor to CIP on its agreement with Greengate Power for the Travers Solar project.