By Mike BowersThe City of Vancouver announced on Wednesday that a new solar power plant will be generating clean electricity at its south-east corner location.
The $1.2-billion project will replace the existing coal-fired power plant with solar panels that will produce enough power to power 2,500 homes.
It is one of three solar projects being built in Vancouver by a joint venture between First Solar, an American solar developer, and the City of Victoria, which is the province’s largest provider of renewable energy.
The new plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The City’s decision to make the solar project part of its energy portfolio is part of a larger shift by the City to build its economy on renewables.
“It is exciting to see that a major project of this scale is now taking place in Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“It is a sign of the times that we are now building the infrastructure to meet the future needs of our city and to meet our own carbon-reduction goals.”
The new solar project will come with a carbon tax of $0.20 per kilowatt hour, and will be paid for by a combination of municipal bonds and fees.
The carbon tax will be $15 per tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and a 10-year moratorium will apply to the project, so it can be completed if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the City.
The city is also working with the province to extend the current 10-per-cent provincial carbon tax rate to 25 per cent by 2021.
The project will have the capacity to generate enough clean electricity to power 500 homes, and is part the City’s plan to create 20 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2025.
The first of the projects, the Vancouver Power Station, opened in 2012 and has now generated more than 30,000 megawatt hours of solar power.
The other two are the new SolarCity project in Victoria, and an expansion of the existing solar project in South East Vancouver.
The third project, which the City will formally announce in the coming weeks, is the Pacific Solar Project.
It is expected by the year 2030 to produce about 5,000 gigawatt-hours of solar.