Solar

Solar energy converts sunlight to electricity using photovoltaric panels.
Solar photovoltaic generating sites consist of an array of solar panels that are connected to inverters. A large solar generating station may need batteries to store the energy produced, so it can be used at a later time when the sun is not shining.

Process

Studies

Solvest completed an inventory of potential solar sites for the 2016 Resource Plan.

The firm considered such things as proximity to existing transmission lines and communities, land ownership, and the topography of the land. The study also looked at various solar technologies that are on the market today. It looked at options for 1 MW, 5 MW, and – in Whitehorse only – 10 MW sites.

An initial review identified four possible sites at Haines Junction, Whitehorse Copper, Takhini, and Canyon. After further research, Solvest concluded that the sites at Whitehorse Copper and Haines Junction were the best options.

Technical and Financial Findings

Annual Energy Firm Energy Installed Capacity Dependable Capacity Levelized Cost of Energy Levelized Cost of Capacity Project Life In-service Lead Time
GWh/yr GWh/yr MW MW $/kWh $/kW yr Years Years

Option #1

Haines Junction 1

1.46 1.46 1 N/A $0.163 N/A 30 2

Option #2

Haines Junction 2

6.75 6.75 5 N/A $0.153 N/A 30 2

Option #3

Whitehorse 1

1.48 1.48 1 N/A $0.176 N/A 30 2

Option #4

Whitehorse 2

6.93 6.93 5 N/A $0.159 N/A 30 2

Option #5

Whitehorse 3

11.47 11.47 10 N/A $0.163 N/A 30 2

Energy

Capacity

Evaluation

Aquatic environment Most favourable
Terrestrial environment Most favourable
Air quality Most favourable
First Nation lands Most favourable
Traditional lifestyle Most favourable
Heritage resources Most favourable
Tourism/recreation/other land uses Most favourable
Cultural/community well-being Somewhat favourable
Local economic benefits Least favourable
Climate change risk Most favourable
  •  Most favourable
  •  Somewhat favourable
  •  Least favourable

Notes

The solar resource is quite consistent among the communities connected to the Yukon grid. The solar resource isn’t as good as most other places in Canada, but it is comparable to other countries such as Germany and Japan that have implemented grid scale solar.

The Whitehorse Copper site is located on the old tailings pile of the Whitehorse Copper Mine. It’s on 120 acres of flat, clear land with established road access near a substation and is within Whitehorse so is close to the main load. The Haines Junction site is one kilometre from the town’s landfill on 65 acres of flat, semi-open land close to the highway and a substation.

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Initial key findings

Pros

The price for solar systems has dropped significantly

Environmentally friendly

Cons

Not reliable energy without battery storage