Winnipeg, Manitoba – The Solar Energy consortium will acquire the SunPower Company, which owns the SunLink Solar Energy Power Plant, in a transaction that is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The transaction will close on July 31, 2018, the company announced in a news release Monday.
SunPower will pay the consortium $4.3 million for the purchase of 10.7 million megawatt hours of solar power, or about 16.7 per cent of its capacity, as well as approximately 1.8 million megawatts of storage capacity.
The consortium expects to produce about $1.5 billion in solar power capacity in the first three quarters of 2019.
Solar energy is becoming more affordable and more accessible to consumers in many parts of the world, but its deployment is still quite costly, said Doug Ewing, executive vice president of Solar Energy at SunPower.
The price of a kilowatt-hour of solar is $5, which means that for an average household in Winnipeg, the cost of a solar system is $1,900.
Ewing noted that solar is currently priced about 15 per cent lower than fossil fuels.
In comparison, a typical nuclear plant produces about 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity, and the price of natural gas is around $2.50 per million BTUs.
In the U.S., solar is a more affordable alternative to coal and natural gas.
In Canada, solar energy is the cheapest form of energy in terms of cost per megawatthour, according to SunPower’s 2016 Global Solar Market Report.
“Solar energy can be very energy efficient and is a competitive alternative to other forms of generation,” Ewing said.
SunLink Solar Power Plant (SunLink) was founded in 2009 by SunPower and the Suncor Energy Corporation to provide energy to rural Manitoba communities.
The solar power plant has more than 1,000 MW of capacity and is located near the towns of St. James and Fort Garry.
In 2017, SunLink generated $1 billion in gross power from its solar panels.
In February 2018, SunPower announced plans to build a solar power station near Fort Garry, Manitoba, that will provide 100 megawatts or enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes.
The consortium will also acquire another SunPower project, the SunStream Solar Power Station, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Fort Garry and about 200 kilometres from Fort Garry in northwestern Manitoba.
The SunStream solar power project, located in the town of Stoney Creek, is scheduled to open in 2019.
The SunLink project will provide more than 10 million megaws of solar energy capacity and generate up to 4.8 megawatts annually, Ewing noted.