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Lily Lake Solar Farm
The 10 MW Lily Lake Solar Farm is located at the northwest corner of Lily Lake Road and Fife’s Bay Road within the Township of Selwyn on approximately 140 acres of property purchased by Peterborough Utilities Inc. The facility is connected to Hydro One Network Inc.’s local distribution system adjacent to Hydro One’s Dobbin Transformer Station.
The Lily Lake Solar Farm operates under a 20-year Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (“RESOP”) contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (“IESO”). The facility generates approximately 14,300 MWh of clean renewable energy to meet the electricity demands of almost 1,600 homes.
The Lily Lake Solar Farm was one of the first large scale solar projects undertaken within the province. Construction of the project commenced in early summer of 2010 under an engineer-procure-construct (“EPC”) contract. The EPC contract included the supply and installation of 2.5 MW of thin film, amorphous silicon solar modules produced by Opti-Solar, a California based supplier. The remaining 7.5 MW of solar modules were procured directly by PUI from a German supplier, Masdar PV.
Unfortunately, the EPC contractor was unable to satisfactorily complete the construction of the project resulting in PUI having to take over responsibility for completion of the facility in the latter part of 2010. Electricity from the solar farm was first injected into the grid in early April 2011 with the entire 10 MW facility commissioned in late June 2011.
The Lily Lake Solar Farm has operated reliably and safely, and generally met production targets due to the strong performance of the Masdar solar modules. Conversely, the Opti-Solar solar modules have suffered unexpected deterioration resulting in lower than expected output from this portion of the facility.
Early in 2015, PUI made the decision to replace the 2.5 MW of Opti-Solar solar modules with new crystalline silicon solar modules manufactured by Canadian Solar Industries in Guelph. PUI funded this work utilizing profits derived from its renewable energy generation business. Recognizing that the Ontario solar industry has had significant improvement in the quality and performance of equipment and construction techniques, PUI’s investment in upgrading this section of the Lily Lake Solar Farm will allow PUI to operate more reliably and efficiently; generate significantly more “green” energy and revenue; and yield a positive return on its investment.
The deconstruction and disposal of the Opti-Solar solar panels, support frames, cables and concrete ballasts was completed in February and March of 2015 by a local contractor. The solar modules and virtually all other material removed from the facility was recycled or repurposed for other uses. Of note, the thin-film amorphous silicon Opti-Solar solar modules did not contain any environmental contaminants as verified by two independent laboratories, allowing these modules to be recycled at a local glass recycling facility.
The design and installation of new foundation posts, steel racking, electrical cables and solar modules was undertaken by PCL Contractors between May and July of 2015. The work was successfully completed ahead of schedule and within budget.
Environmental & Social Responsibility
PUI is committed to undertaking work at the Lily Lake Solar Farm in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. As part of the project planning and approvals, PUI established a minimum 30 meter setback from wetland areas, restored a section of the wetland impacted by past landowners, and committed to further restoring this area to a natural environment. Over the past several years, PUI has planted several hundred trees within the facility property.
Visual screening of the facility was not a requirement at the time of planning, approval and construction of the Lily Lake Solar Farm. PUI has and continues to work collaboratively with adjacent property owners to address their concerns and mitigate visual impacts of the facility. The recent upgrades have reduced the footprint of the facility and provide some new buffer lands adjacent to Fife’s Bay Road. PUI is committed to enhancing the visual screening of the facility within this area in the near future.