News release

Solar Gardens Coming to Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay

The first large-scale community solar gardens in the province will be built in Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay.

Premier Iain Rankin announced $7.5 million for the projects today, July 8, in Antigonish.

“This is a game changer. These projects will make the residents of Antigonish, Mahone Bay and Berwick big players in Nova Scotia’s clean energy future,” said Premier Rankin. “Nova Scotia is a national leader in fighting climate change and transitioning to more renewable energy sources, like a solar garden, is a prime example of how community-led projects can have major positive impact on our environment.”

Working with the federal government and the respective municipalities, these community solar gardens will allow utility customers who may not have the ability or means to install solar panels on their personal property to benefit from renewable, solar energy.

“This collaborative investment means residents can equitably participate in, and benefit from, utility-sized solar systems,” said Randy Delorey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, on behalf of Energy and Mines Minister Chuck Porter. “Antigonish’s 2.1 megawatt solar garden will produce enough energy for about three per cent of the town’s electricity needs, and altogether these projects will generate up to 10 gigawatt hours of solar energy annually.”

The federal government is contributing $8.9 million to the community solar gardens. The municipalities are providing $6 million in funding. The total cost of the project is $22.4 million.

The new solar gardens will include:

  • a 2.1 megawatt solar garden in Antigonish that will provide three per cent of the town’s electricity use
  • a 1.9 megawatt facility in Mahone Bay that will account for about 16 per cent of the town’s electricity use
  • a 4.8 megawatt facility in Berwick that will account for about 15 per cent of the town’s electricity use

The project will be managed by the Alternative Resource Energy Authority, a municipal clean energy corporation collectively owned by the towns.

Construction on the solar gardens is expected to begin in the fall.

Quotes:

With over one million vaccines administered across Nova Scotia, we’re on our way out of this pandemic. Now is the time to come together to build a more sustainable, more livable future for Canadians. Green energy projects like these solar gardens in Mahone Bay, Antigonish and Berwick are good for our communities in so many ways. They generate clean electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create good jobs. That’s what Build Back Better means. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margarets, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

As a town council, we can play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change. Support for initiatives like the community solar garden demonstrates council's commitment to environmental sustainability for Antigonish and the province of Nova Scotia. This project is part of the town's ambitious green energy portfolio with the Alternative Resource Energy Authority that creates an opportunity for local residents to become stewards of the environment in ways that are accessible and affordable. Laurie Boucher, mayor, Town of Antigonish

The community solar garden will reduce emissions and help keep rates affordable for our citizens and businesses. This project builds on our success with the Alternative Resource Energy Authority of affordably transitioning to renewable energy. Once complete, this project will push our share of municipally owned renewable energy to over 60 per cent from wind, hydro and solar. Don Clarke, mayor, Town of Berwick

Along with the other towns and the Alternative Resource Energy Authority, Mahone Bay has a proven track record of tackling the climate emergency. The investments in this project fit into our Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan and enable Mahone Bay to take a leadership role among municipalities in solar energy, translating our concern for climate change into positive remedial action. David Devenne, mayor, Town of Mahone Bay

"We are thrilled to have all three levels of government investing together in the community solar gardens. This project highlights the unique leadership role that municipalities can play in the clean energy transition. We have the ambition to act, an unbeatable cost of capital, and the benefits are re-invested in our communities. We can’t wait to get started.”

Sean Fleming, manager, project development, Alternative Resource Energy Authority

Quick Facts:

  • the towns aim to be the first net-zero emissions communities in Canada powered by 100 per cent renewable energy
  • the projects will produce energy to power 1,000 homes annually and represent seven per cent of the utilities’ total electrical energy consumption
  • the Alternative Resource Energy Authority was founded in 2014 by Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay to reduce their energy costs and environmental impact. It owns and operates the 10-turbine 23.5 megawatt Ellershouse Wind Farm in Windsor-West Hants
  • the province has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and a net-zero emitter by 2050

Additional Resources:

Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/icp-publication-pic-eng.html

Alternative Resource Energy Authority: https://www.areans.ca/

-30-

Media Contacts:

Tracy Barron
Energy and Mines Cell: 902-223-1465 Email:
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251 Toll free: 877-250-7154 Email:
Lise Roy
Alternative Resource Energy Authority 902-318-7884 Email: