December 12th, 2018

Mexican beer helping promote solar power

By Mabell, Dave on July 19, 2018.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

A Mexican beer is part of a promotion for more solar power investment in southern Alberta.

The Colorado-based Molson Coors group, now introducing the Sol label, has partnered with Medicine Line Renewables Ltd. to support construction of a small solar farm south of Milk River.

“Given the name, they were looking to market this beer by sponsoring a solar PV project in Alberta,” says Robert Tang Kong, speaking for Medicine Line. “We have been fortunate to be selected as that project.”

The solar farm, alongside Highway 4 and the Canadian Pacific tracks about 20 kilometres north of the U.S. border, is rated at five megawatts. Kong says two future Medicine Line projects in southeastern Alberta would be rated at 30 MW each.

Promoters for Sol, “the original Mexican beer,” say up to $100,000 will be raised in support of the project – at 10 cents per bottle ordered at restaurants and bars across Canada.

The “One Million Bottles Sol’d for Solar” campaign aims at bringing “cleaner energy to Canadians” as well as introducing the new label.

Construction at the Milk River site is planned for next spring, Kong says.

“Milk River is fairly advanced and is in the design stage,” he reports.

It could generate power for about 1,060 homes.

“We hope to secure a power purchase agreement and secure financing over the next several months,” he says.

Next, Kong says, the company wants to build a much larger project near Etzicom, west of Highway 885, and a similar one farther north between Buffalo and Bindloss, north of CFB Suffield.

At 30 MW, both would eclipse the 17-MW solar farm completed last fall near Brooks by Vancouver-based Elemental Energy. That $30-million project – bolstered by a $15-million government grant – was heralded as the largest solar installation in Canada, capable of supplying power to about 3,000 homes.

Southern Alberta locations are favoured, promoters say, because of the reliable number of sunny days. Medicine Hat boasts an average of 2,544 hours of sunshine per year, with Lethbridge close behind at 2,507 hours.

Southern Alberta boasts reliable breezes as well, with the nation’s largest wind farm – the 300-MW Blackspring Ridge installation – operating east of Carmangay. The $600-million facility can provide power for up to 140,000 homes.

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