Site preparation is underway for a $69 million solar farm in Summerside, P.E.I.

The Summerside Sunbank project, a 21-megawatt solar array and 10-megawatt battery storage project, will consist of 65,000 solar panels and eight tractor-trailer sized batteries.

The solar farm, together with the city’s existing 12-megawatt wind farm, will push the percentage of electricity Summerside gets from local renewable sources past 60 per cent.

“The City of Summerside is progressing towards becoming a net-zero community when it comes to its carbon footprint,” says Mayor Basil Stewart. “Expanding our renewable energy generation and ensuring we do so in a responsible manner is one of our top priorities.”

The Sunbank project, first announced last January, is being funded by three levels of government. It Includes $26.3 million from the federal government, $21.9 million from the provincial government (the largest provincial investment in a municipal project ever on P.E.I.) and about $20.5 million from the city.

The 80-acre parcel of land being used for the solar array includes a treed lot. As a result, the city will be replanting 30 acres of new lands to compensate for the removal of vegetation during the green energy project.

Construction is expected to begin in late May or early June with the solar panels expected to go online in 2022. Once the farm is online, the city expects to save at least $2 million per year, compared to what it would have to spend on off-Island power.