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A series of solar panels in a field.

Harnessing the power of the sun

The technology of solar power has many different commercial applications and Ontario Power Generation continues to assess several viable options for future development opportunities.

Learn about our ongoing pursuit of clean, solar energy solutions for Ontario.

Ensuring economic value

As we seek out innovative solutions to expand and diversify our generation mix, we continue to explore opportunities for solar installations beyond our initial project at Nanticoke.

As with all of our projects, we’re committed to ensuring we make smart investments that return good value for Ontario’s energy customers.

In the absence of renewable energy contracts like the prior feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, we have to ensure solar development projects remain financially viable.

Commercial solar applications

Among the many options available for solar technology, OPG is currently assessing the technical considerations of three types of commercial solar development.

Rooftop

Rooftop solar projects can be a great way to install clean energy without taking up new real estate. On top of ensuring that such projects are financially viable, we also have to take health and safety into consideration. Construction and operation of rooftop solar panels may require:

  • Installing guard rails to ensure worker safety.
  • Modifying fire-protection plans.
  • Making changes to building exhausts and venting.
  • Adding structural reinforcement to address wind and seismic loads.
  • Approval from regulatory agencies such as Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for any installations at our existing generating facilities.

Furthermore, some of our buildings may not be good candidates for rooftop panels because of existing shading from trees and nearby buildings.

Ground-mount

The main advantages of ground-mount solar are the economies of scale: the largest solar installations at the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour generated. Logistical concerns are key when considering this type, including:

  • The large amounts of unused land required.
  • The geotechnical and above-ground conditions.
  • A lack of road access to the site.
  • Access to transmission/distribution lines.

We must also consider the cost vs. efficiency comparison between fixed-tilt and axis tracking systems.

Carport/parking

Practical issues are important when assessing this type of solar installation such as:

  • Impact on employees and operations by potentially reducing available parking spaces, and added structural reinforcement to address wind and seismic loads.

Like the rooftop option, this type of installation must also consider shading from nearby trees and buildings.