The Future of Solar Power in Alberta

ELSE University of Calgary’s inaugural symposium event on solar energy’s potential in Alberta was a success, with over 85 attendees, including students, professors, and community members.

The panelists, including two from the private sector and two university professors, had a diverse background and contributed to the discussion with their unique perspectives. Brodie Yyelland moderated the discussion well, summarizing the main points for the audience throughout the evening.

  • Solar energy currently contributes less than 0.1% of Alberta’s electricity generation capacity
  • Alberta is creating a new path based on proposed climate change initiatives and policies
    • Phasing out coal is being accelerated
    • New carbon tax introduced
    • Significant investment has been proposed in the Climate Energy Plan
  • By 2030, the Government’s goal is to have 30% of electricity generation in Alberta supplied by renewable energy

This was an invaluable experience for the attendees and it was a good kick-off to this student organization at the University of Calgary. It garnered significant interest on campus. Students will be looking forward to the activities and event planned for the upcoming academic year.

However, unanswered questions remain:

  • What is a practical and achievable goal for the future? 
  • Does Alberta have the right policy environment to incentivize an increase in solar energy development? 
  • What are the challenges for setting up utility-scale solar projects? 
  • How large of a role can micro-generation projects play?