While traveling back and forth to a nearby provincial park for a swim on this warm summer day, we had an opportunity once again to view the massive solar panel set up near Galetta, about a forty minute drive west of Ottawa.
From a strictly visual impact the set-up is somewhat impressive. According to the website, there are 312,000 solar panels on 13,000 racks covering 200 acres (approximately 81 hectares). The power produced is indicated as 23.4 megawatts. Unfortunately, this large site covers a tiny piece when one considers the big picture for Ontario.
As of 8:00 pm this evening, when there was still plenty of daylight, the ‘other’ category as shone on the IESO (Independent Electrical Supply Operator, for Ontario) website, which includes solar power, showed this category as representing 0.8% of the power supply for the province. This is not an untypical proportion at this point for solar. About 60% of the total power was generated by nuclear and 25% by water.
Let’s consider the implications, in this day of the drive to ‘green’ energy. On a projected basis, in order to provide just 20% of future needs, not counting an inevitable gradual daily average increase, means about 31,400 acres (approximately 12,700 hectares) of Ontario land will have to be devoted to solar panels. About two-thirds of the province is considered forest, according to the government website. This means from the remaining one-third of variable use land about 50 square miles will be needed just to achieve this level of power, assuming the sun cooperates enough to allow the panels to maximize production.
Seems like there’s going to be quite a satellite view someday.