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SunMine shines on a bright future in solar power

SunMine shines on a bright future in solar power

An innovative solar array is turning reclaimed land at a former mining site into productive clean energy in Kimberley, B.C. SunMine, British Columbia's first grid-connected solar facility and the largest user of solar trackers in Canada, began commercial operation in June 2015 with a capacity of 1.05 megawatts of electricity.

The project represents a collaboration between the mining company Teck Resources Limited, which formerly operated the world’s largest lead and zinc mine on the site; the City of Kimberley, which is building a new economic base after the closure of the mine; project designers EcoSmart Foundation; and several other businesses and funding agencies. The Province of B.C.’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund provided $1 million towards the $5.3-million award-winning SunMine solar project through the Vancouver-based not-for-profit EcoSmart Foundation. In total, 4,032 photovoltaic modules mounted on 96 solar trackers follow the sun as it moves from east to west and through its elevations. By closely tracking the sun, the assembly provides 38% more energy than a fixed system.

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, a high elevation and snow that reflects sunlight onto the solar cells in winter, the Kimberley mine site is estimated to have a potential generating capacity of up to 200 megawatts, enough to power about 40,000 homes. In its first year of operation, SunMine sold 1,915 megawatt-hours of electricity to BC Hydro, 98.6% of projected generation, and received $196,000 in revenue, 91.6% of projected revenue.

The project was recently presented a national award from Engineers Canada, a national engineering industry association that highlights excellence in the field. Since its inception, the SunMine project has received several other awards, highlighting the innovation behind the project.

Communities and resource developers in British Columbia are actively developing clean technologies that produce power and increase efficiency. Offering both a dynamic resource sector and innovative technology companies, British Columbia is in a unique position to demonstrate that these sectors can work together to develop mutually beneficial clean technologies.

The Ministry of International Trade helps investors and buyers work with British Columbia businesses to grow in key markets around the world. We offer contacts and support through a growing network of Trade and Investment Representatives offices, as well as our established services in Vancouver

Posted August 26, 2016

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