Canada’s Alberta province could see its installed solar power capacity increase 60-fold if expected incentives designed to help phase out coal-fired power by 2030 materialize.

According to local paper the Calgary Herald, Alberta’s system operator has confirmed that 21 planned solar projects totalling 681 MW have requested system access as of 1 September, and that two more projects – including what would be western Canada’s largest solar installation, EDF EN Canada’s 77.5 MW Vulcan plant – have applied for construction approval.

If completed, these projects would raise the province’s installed solar capacity by a factor of 60 from its current 11 MW.  

Alberta’s environment ministry has said a renewables auction will be announced this year. While the details haven’t yet been disclosed, environment minister Shannon Phillips has proposed either renewable energy credits or Contracts for Difference-style agreements.

John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, was quoted as saying that “many players in the industry, both domestic and international, are waiting for a signal from the Alberta government as to whether they will proceed”.

Alberta’s government says it aims to phase out coal power by 2030 through “policies that fit with Alberta’s unique energy market to ensure that the electricity system continues to be reliable”.

Image: By AleSpa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0