Gabrielle-Bodis and Robert-A.-Boyd solar generating stations
This technological showcase project is of great interest to Hydro-Québec. By integrating photovoltaic solar generating stations into our existing grid, we will better understand how this technology behaves and be able to assess the future possibilities of this electricity generation method for Québec.
As with all Hydro-Québec endeavours, favorable reception by local communities is crucial for this project to become a reality. Our team presented each step of the project to local representatives to provide information and listen to their concerns and expectations. During construction, we will remain in direct communication with various local stakeholders and with the population. Check our web page for news on the progress of the project.
1 877 653-1139
Why enter into a photovoltaic solar generating station project?
- Photovoltaic power is enjoying strong growth around the world. It is quick to implement, and its cost is decreasing.
- In 2019, installed photovoltaic capacity increased by nearly 115 GW worldwide, bringing total global capacity to 627 GW. (Reference: https://iea-pvps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IEA_PVPS_Snapshot_2020.pdf)
- We wish to integrate the energy from these stations to the power grid to determine whether photovoltaic energy is suited to Québec and to Hydro-Québec’s context, and whether it should constitute a larger portion of our generating fleet in the future.
- We also wish to develop expertise by integrating this renewable, intermittent energy source as a complement to other available sources in order to assess its behaviour in the grid and its impacts on the management of the current generating fleet.
Is this investment justifiable during an electricity surplus?
- The quantity of energy generated by the photovoltaic solar generating stations each year will be modest and will not have a notable impact on Hydro-Québec’s surpluses.
- One of the objectives is to carry out a project that will be comparable to other projects in the sector in terms of costs and schedule.
- This project is part of an effort to establish strategies for Hydro-Québec’s long-term development in the context of the energy transition.
Why these two locations?
- The locations were chosen at the end of a process to determine which of Hydro-Québec’s sites were best suited to house photovoltaic solar generating stations.
- They are on industrial land that Hydro-Québec is already familiar with and that presents few environmental, social or technical constraints.
- The sites are located in Southern Québec, near higher-demand areas.
- They are in areas that are suitable for integration with the 25-kV distribution system.
What is the duration of sunshine in Montérégie?
- Based on statistics from the past 30 years, there are around 2,030 hours of sunshine in the Montréal area per year, out of a yearly total of 8,760 hours (365 days x 24 hours). There is therefore sunshine around 20% of the time.
- For comparison, there is sunshine in Sept-Îles for 1,790 hours per year.
Does snow impact photovoltaic generation?
- Snow that accumulates on photovoltaic panels can bring about generation losses that range from 5 to 20% of annual generation.
- Beginning in the design stage, there are measures that can decrease snow accumulation, including:
- Using solar tracking systems to move the panels.
- Installing the panels high enough that snow that accumulates on the ground does not obstruct the surface of the panels.
- Increasing the incline of panels to decrease potential accumulation.
- Using bifacial technology that captures indirect radiation (reflected off the snow) on the underside of the panels and helps the snow melt faster.
- Occasionally removing snow from the panels manually, as needed.
The Varennes photovoltaic solar generating station, which has various configurations, will enable us to see which configurations are optimal in the event of snow accumulation.
The two photovoltaic solar generating stations will be equipped with bifacial panels to improve performance in winter thanks to the light reflected from the snow.
Why are you using the term “photovoltaic solar generating station” rather than “solar power station”?
Solar energy travels to the earth’s surface in the form of radiation. This energy can be used directly in the form of heat. For example, concentrating solar power stations use mirrors that concentrate solar radiation to boil water, feeding a steam turbine that drives a generator.
In a photovoltaic solar generating station, solar radiation is transformed directly into electricity using the photovoltaic effect. The term “solar power station” is therefore not specific enough to describe this type of facility. “Photovoltaic solar generating station” is more accurate.