A Solar Park In Quebec

Friday August 25, 2017

A Solar Park In Quebec

Isabelle Pion

La Tribune

A Solar Park in Quebec. (Sherbrooke)


Sherbrooke University Innovation-ACELP Park will come to life in the coming weeks with the start-up of multiple important multi million-dollar projects.  The job will begin this fall in order to give life to ‘’the largest photovoltaic energy solar park’’ in Quebec, as it has already been presented by the University.

The extra energy generated by the park will be redistributed to Hydro-Sherbrooke.  The Vice Rector of Valorisation and Partnerships of Sherbrooke University, Mr. Vincent Aimez, estimates that the discussions are going well.

‘’I think Estrie should be able to become Quebec’s solar energy region; Estrie, as far as Monteregie, just like Gaspesie being chosen for wind power for many good reasons.’’ Says Mr. Aimez, citing ongoing discussions.

The solar park will include diverse types of solar technologies; we will find several types of panels, some of which will be on solar trackers.

‘’These are quite efficient technologies.’’  The work on some infrastructures should take place before winter, followed by the panels installation.  ‘‘At springtime, it will be the end of the technologies installation.’’

 ‘’We are talking about a significant power of close to one mega watt. (MW) (referring to the photovoltaic portion of the park).  One megawatt, compared to an average household consumption, is equivalent to a thousand households.  It is an important amount.  The idea is also to be optimally positioned with the electrical network.  Hydro-Sherbrooke is one of the first project partners.  Their interest in this park is the possibility to inject energy in the city’s network.  Even if the University could very well use all the energy produced, given its power and history consumption, there are many moments through the year where the park will produce more that its buildings will consume.’’

The city of Sherbrooke did not want to give more details, claiming that the officials should first familiarize themselves with the formal agreement to come.

‘’When there is sun and peaks of production, there will be an energy intake into Hydro-Sherbrooke’s network allowing the reduction of its consumption in the worst periods.  The other positive aspect is an energy exchange between the University and Hydro-Sherbrooke, knowing that the University use more energy in general than the park.’’ 

On the scientific side, the Sherbrooke park will allow the collection of a lot of data while validating the technologies.

The solar park will contain two parts:  One photovoltaic part and a solar thermal one.  With high temperature heat, says Vincent Aimez referring to these second part of the park, the possibilities are great.  He talks about electricity production and then about energy storage saying that: ‘’Storage is what interest us a lot.’’ He defines it as a global challenge.  ‘’ If we manage the storage well, we improve the impact of the energy created.’’

Tenders must be issued within two weeks for the solar park.  ‘’ We received a lot of interest.  It is clear that there is an interest for solar energy in Quebec.  These are energy sources that vary over time.   The problem is in Quebec, but also all over the world.  We must see how can we manage the instability and, if someone could find a solution that works perfectly and that is not too expensive, it would have a planetary impact.’’

Due to timelines set out in the grants programs, work must be finished by spring 2018.  ‘’It will be very fast.’’ Says Mr. Aimez

The exact location by meter is not defined yet, but Mr. Aimez confirms that ‘’ It must be south to avoid other buildings shadow.’’

The media revealed earlier this summer that Hydro-Quebec wanted to build a 100MW solar park requiring investments of close to 200M$.  The Sherbrooke University has begun preliminary discussions with the corporation.

For different projects, including the solar park and the creation of an hydrology, hydraulics and environmental complex (see other article), the University received grants for more than 9 M$ from the federal and provincial governments which were announced this winter.


An artificial river in the park

An artificial river will emerge at the Innovation-ACELP Park near Sainte-Catherine road.  Work for the hydrology, hydraulic and environmental complex of Sherbrooke University will be, in fact, launched this fall.

‘’There will be a basin simulating a river to help understand the flow of water in catchment areas and where contaminants and sediments transportation will be analyzed.’’ resume the Vice-Rector of Administration and Sustainable Development of Sherbrooke University, Ms. Denyse Rémillard.  The basin will allow the observation of these various aspects in a controlled environment.  ‘’ Normally, it should be completed by springtime.’’ ‘’ This project is part of the initiatives receiving subsidies and whose work must be ended by spring 2018.’’

The complex exploitation will be assured by a team of a dozen teachers and researchers, mostly from Sherbrooke University but also from other institutions.  The team has expertise specially in the study of rivers and watersheds processes, wastewater treatments and contaminant impact on ecosystems, which will give them the possibility to tackle ‘’varied and complex environmental problems.’’

The cost of this complex is evaluated at approximately 2.2 M$.



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