A B.C. firm intends to test the sun-baked hillsides near Cache Creek for the viability of solar power generation with long-term potential for a clean energy project worth anywhere between $3 million and $45 million.
Sunfield Energy Inc., is seeking an investigative licence from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to research an area immediately east of the Village of Cache Creek.
A referral from the ministry has gone to the TNRD board for information purposes in initial stages of the testing project. If approved, the project would gather data over a five-year period on what is Crown land within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The proposed testing area is bordered by Cache Creek’s municipal boundary to the east and Elephant Hill Provincial Park to the south.
Sunfield wants to install a compact solar photovoltaic energy and climate monitoring instrument on the site. The solar monitoring station is a short, tubular steel post with a solar sensor mounted on top. The sensors record and relay unimpeded solar radiation measurements. Data will be collected, analyzed and correlated with long-term satellite and Environment Canada regional solar and climate data.
If solar conditions prove favourable and a clean energy project proceeds, Sunfield says the project could generate between 1-15 megawatts of generating capacity.
They would install ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panel arrays and related components, as well as feeder power lines and substation components, over an estimated area of 10-150 hectares.
The estimated regional investment potential in new clean energy infrastructure could range between $3 - $45 million, depending on the final project generating capacity.
It’s not the first time the TNRD has received such a referral on solar energy investigation by the same company. In March and April, the board reviewed two similar requests in the area of Missezula and Tunkwa lakes.