TransCanada is Buying Up Solar Power to Increase Renewable Energy Presence
TransCanada, the Calgary based energy infrastructure company is buying another solar power facility in Ontario in a bid to increase its presence in the renewable energy market. The Mississippi Mills project, about 60 kilometres west of Ottawa has a generating capacity of about 10 megawatts. This new deal is part of a prior agreement with Canadian Solar to buy nine Ontario solar facilities in order to expand its renewable energy while also promoting fossil fuel projects (such as the Keystone XL pipeline) which would carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands into refineries in Texas. The total cost of the nine solar power facilities is about $500 million. Whereas, the Keystone XL pipeline is expected to cost around $5.3 billion. Since the initial announcement in December, TransCanada has already acquired four of the nine solar plans in Ontario which are as follows: Brockville 1, Brockville 2 and the Burritts Rapids project in Ottawa. The energy from these plants is being sold to the Ontario Power Authority for $443 per megawatt hour as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement.
TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said, “We are pleased to have acquired an additional solar facility in Ontario as part of our growing energy portfolio, one-third of which are facilities that produce electricity from emission-less sources.”
Solar Panels and Hail
Everyone who has talks about solar panels invariably asks about hail. It’s an understandable question. Canada, especially around Saskatoon, and the rest of Saskatchewan can’t go a year without hail of some sort. These panels are supposed to last a long time, and the majority of the front face is glass. Glass that is going to be outside, with no cover or protection above it. Hail can cause a lot of damage, it can ruin entire crops, total off vehicles, and destroy siding and shingles.
What makes solar panels any different? Well for one, solar panels are built to last. They use tempered glass instead of plastics or regular plate glass. Tempered glass is much more resistant to impacts than regular glass. It’s able to with stand impacts at twice the speed that would break regular glass. If you know your physics (F=mv2), this translates into being four times as tough.
How tough are solar panels? Watch the video above of a solar panel taking a direct hit from a ball of ice the size of a billiard ball at 120 kph.
Hail isn’t as perfectly spherical or solid as what is shown in the video. It’s loosely held together, has many weak points and a lot of air trapped inside. Also, panels are rarely mounted in such a way that they would take a direct perpendicular impact from hail. Hail impacts will generally be at an angle, sometimes as much as 45 degrees – that’s more of a glancing blow than an impact. The one weakness of tempered glass is its edges. Impacts here can cause the entire sheet to shatter. This is why solar panels also have an aluminum frame. Aluminum keeps the weight down, provides corrosion free protection for the edges of the tempered glass and is a convenient mounting surface to secure the panels. Solar panels will last just as long if not longer than any other feature on the outside of your home.
Come hail, wind, rain or snow – solar panels do their job.