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Irrigation Canal Power Co-operative Ltd. Barnwell Solar Project, AUC Decision 26317-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Solar Power

In this decision, the AUC approved the application from Irrigation Canal Power Co-operative Ltd. (“IRRICAN”) and qualified the 999-kilowatt (“kW”) Barnwell Solar Project (the “Project”) as a community generating unit.


The Project would be located near the town of Taber, Alberta. IRRICAN submitted that the output capability would not exceed 999 kW but that the final number and model for the solar modules could change.

In that community benefits statement submitted in support of the application, IRRICAN estimated that the Project would generate a combined revenue of $3,625,000 over its 25-year life. It would also generate $7,900 in annual property tax revenues for the Municipality. With respect to environmental benefits, IRRICAN noted that the Project would repurpose unused land, as it will be located on an orphan well surface lease. The Project and the precedent it will set are also anticipated to create hope and self-sufficiency and increase social cohesion in the community.

FortisAlberta Inc. had qualified the Project as a small-scale generating unit under the Small Scale Generating Regulation. It also confirmed that it would be responsible for the metering costs, estimated to be $19.298.20.

AUC Findings

The AUC accepted that the Project is a small power plant within the meaning of Subsection 18(1) of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation. The AUC was also satisfied that the Project does not have adverse environmental impacts and complies with Rule 012: Noise Control. The AUC, accordingly, agreed that the Project is excluded from the application of sections 11 and 18 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act.

The AUC determined that the application to designate the Project as a community generating unit satisfies the requirements of the Small Scale Generating Regulation, as it was submitted in the required form and included the required supporting documents and information.

Section 5 of the Small Scale Generation Regulation specifies the costs for which a small-scale power producer is responsible. Specifically, in the case of a community generating unit that is not within an isolated community, as is the case with IRRICAN’s generating unit, subsection 5(2)(a) requires that the distribution owner purchase the meter that is installed for the community generating unit, to a maximum of one meter per facility. The AUC was therefore satisfied that FortisAlberta Inc. is entitled to recover the costs incurred to purchase the meter for the Project, pursuant to Subsection 5(2)(a) of the Small Scale Generation Regulation. Accordingly, as a condition of the qualification, IRRICAN is required to provide the AUC with written confirmation of the actual cost to purchase the meter once the distribution owner has purchased the meter for the community generating unit within one month of the Project’s in-service date.

AUC Decision

Pursuant to Section 3 of the Small Scale Generating Regulation, the AUC qualified the Barnwell Solar Project as a community generating unit.

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