Sarnia Solar Farms

OptiSolar Farms Canada Inc. is building six 10 megawatt (MW) solar farms in Sarnia, a city of 90,000 at the tip of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario. These solar farms will provide Sarnia’s Local Distribution Company (LDC), Bluewater Power, with an additional 60 MW of electricity generating capacity.

The project was announced in April, 2007 after OptiSolar Farms signed contracts with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to sell solar electricity under the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program. After consultation with the public and after the City of Sarnia approved a Site Plan Control Agreement for construction on industrial-zoned land, OptiSolar Farms Canada began building in August 2008.

OptiSolar Farms will install hundreds of thousands of ground-mounted solar panels that capture energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. The height of the arrays is less than two metres.

The projects will generate several million dollars in local construction work and procurement contracts.

The first 10 MW solar farm will come on line in late 2008 or early 2009 and by 2010, the solar farms will be feeding clean, high-quality solar electricity into Bluewater Power’s electricity system.

The environmental benefits of the Sarnia project continue to increase:

  • The farm’s electricity will meet the needs of almost one third of Sarnia’s homes, and the solar farm produces most of its power during summer months, when it is most needed to meet peak air conditioning loads.
  • The Sarnia Solar Farm will include a Tall Grass Prairie wildlife habitat restoration area, providing a home for plants and animals that were once common in the Sarnia area, as well as helping provide a visual screen for the solar arrays.
  • The wooded areas of the Sarnia Solar Farm will be improved by the replacement of stands that are now largely made up of disease-prone ash and elm trees. After project completion there will be a net increase in woodlot area, with 19 acres of new trees planted to enhance wildlife habitat.
  • The Sarnia Solar Farm supports the Government of Ontario’s long-term goal of bringing the total contribution of renewable energy to 15,700 MW on the provincial electricity system.



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