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Stroll through a solar farm
by on the county road. It is set well back from the road though anyone driving north along nearby Route 20 can catch a glimpse of the dark rows of panels in the distance. The Alfred solar farm is one of dozens built and put into operation throughout Eastern Ontario by either Canadian Solar or any of the many alternate energy com- panies now seeking to expand their pres- ence in the global energy field. The Alfred site is not even the biggest one in existence. Canadian Solar itself has several elsewhere in Ontario that dwarf its Alfred sun farm by two or three times. It’s not the only solar farm project in Al- fred-Plantagenet Township. EDF ENCanada
has one in the process of development for Pendleton and the township is gettingmore attention from alternate energy outfits as a possible area to scout for project sites. Which prompted Mayor Fernand Dicaire and the rest of township council to take in a walking tour of the site at the end of May just before the start of a weekend heatwave. The Alfred solar farmcovers several acres, including the panels on adjustable frames which allow them to catch the full sunlight at all times of the day. Several support buil- dings stand among the rows and, near the end of the driveway in from the county road, is the transformer setup that channels the electricity created, about 10 to 20megawatts,
through the panels onto the provincial grid. The ground surrounding the panels is bare for themost part, except for a fewweedy grass clumps. Construction of the solar farm finished last year and power production began just before spring this year. Now that the panels are producing power, the next work project for the site involves seeding the entire ground beneath and around the panels with a mix of native white and red clover and other ground-hugging flowering plants. Besides improving the appearance of the site, it will also help support the local bee population which also serves the local farm community through crop pollination.
GREGG CHAMBERLAIN firstname.lastname@example.org
A different type of farm lies on the outskirts of the Village of Alfred in the Township of Alfred-Plantagenet. It doesn’t produce vegetables or fruits or flowers. It produces power. Row on row of solar panels gleam in the bright sunlight at the Canadian Solar “sun farm” located on the north side of County Road 17 just before the Blue Corner Road intersection near the boundary with Cham- plain Township. The solar farm is neither obvious nor easy to see for motorists passing
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