Solar farm proposal for town-owned land south of Railway Avenue

Solar Farm / File photo
Written by ECA Review

Mayor Matthew Peacock began council discussion of the solar project proposal by Maple Leaf Green World Inc. (hereafter Maple Leaf) with a public announcement:

“It seems like a lot of people maybe are confusing this with the county project going on and the public hearing for the county project. These are different projects. So, the town has not entered into any partnerships, agreements, or anything else. We are here to listen to a proposal.”

Raymond Lai (CEO) and Frank Hum (Project Manager) for Maple Leaf attended the council meeting online to answer questions and clarify details of the proposal.
Information provided to council by Maple Leaf included:

This is a pilot project, and if completed by the end of summer 2024, will be the company’s first in Alberta.

Coronation is the first town in Alberta to respond to Maple Leaf’s offer to build a solar farm, “with open arms,” Lai said.

Maple Leaf has specialized in greenhouse operations from 2006 to 2022. In early 2023 Maple Leaf changed its focus over concern that climate change might affect agriculture. The company decided to change their business to be a green and renewable energy company.

Council is considering a proposal, with a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) from Maple Leaf, to place an array of solar panels on up to 64 acres of vacant land between Railway Avenue to the north, and Highway 12 to the south.

The LOI is the foundational agreement. Once the LOI is signed, the land will be leased to Maple Leaf for a feasibility study, along with environmental and visibility impact studies.
A signed LOI would be the initial binding agreement, enabling Maple Leaf to secure investors and to proceed with the feasibility study.

To be feasible, the project must be able to offset to the cost of electricity to the town, provide lease revenue (unless the land is purchased), tax revenue, profit sharing, potential local employment opportunities for land maintenance, security, fencing, construction and security monitoring services, and provide a reliable revenue stream for Maple Leaf.

If the project is deemed feasible, a final proposal will be made by Maple Leaf, which will be subject to a public hearing.

Phase one of the project will be designed to offset the cost of electricity to Coronation’s municipal buildings.

Phase two will be the completed solar farm. ATCO Energy supports the project but requires that electricity from phase two be sold to the Alberta Power Pool.

On the town’s 37-acre parcel, the final project would yield about eight to 10 megawatts (about four acres per megawatt), although up to 64 acres is being considered for the solar array.

Maple Leaf has partnered with a couple of solar panel manufacturers to supply technically advanced solar panels. The panels in question are designed to withstand one-inch hail.

At Alberta’s northern latitudes, these panels will be about 10 per cent to 12 per cent efficient, compared to a maximum efficiency rating of 28 per cent to 30 per cent in places like California.

The project is expected to cost about two million dollars per megawatt, covered entirely by Green Leaf, except possibly the cost to remove a pump jack on the property.
If phase two proceeds, installation should begin early next summer, to be completed within two months.

Other business
Council approved Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) continuing to hold town accounts and financials for another three years.

Following discussion, council moved to sell the purchased Chow Now Trailer for at least what the town paid for it, if possible.

The need for future budgeting for cleanup, abatement and demolition of properties taken over by the town for taxes owing was discussed at length.

An update to the town’s website was approved, to include a search engine for enable easier access to town information.

In the previous Coronation council meeting report, Nov. 2, pg. 3 we incorrectly identified positions on the Coronation Library Board. Chelsey Peacock is the library board chair and Linda McClarty is the treasurer. We apologize for these errors.

Lane Koster
ECA Review

About the author

ECA Review