Oil sands giant Suncor is looking into building three solar farms in the Canadian province of Alberta. This is a great move by Suncor since a solar PV system in Alberta, on average, produces approximately 50% more than it would in Germany (the world leader in solar).
Suncor has submitted a request to the Alberta Electric System Operator, and is currently working through the connection process on three projects – which would each have a generating capacity of up to 80 MW.
Should all three project be approved and built they would add 240 MW of solar generation to the province, which currently has 9 MW of solar generation. The company has operated wind farms since 2002 as part of its portfolio, but has yet to venture into the solar energy space. Renewable energy generation has a much longer payback period when compared with oil, so Suncor is definitely investing for the long term with the proposed solar farms.
We think the company is doing a great job of helping with the transition to renewable energy. In the past, we have mentioned that we are currently a hydrocarbon society and cannot simply stop using oil. It will take time for the transition to renewables to happen, and we will still needs lots of fossil fuels during this transition. Suncor clearly sees both the need to responsibly develop our fossil fuel resources while investing in the future.