Alberta cannabis producer readies Canada’s largest rooftop solar array

Alberta cannabis producer readies Canada’s largest rooftop solar array

A rendering of the Freedom Cannabis rooftop solar array in Alberta.

An Alberta-based cannabis producer is weeks away from flipping the switch on what it says will be Canada’s largest array of rooftop solar panels.

Freedom Cannabis expects to activate the 1,830 kilowatt array at its facility 20 kilometers west of Edmonton in November.

The initiative is, in part, an answer to the growing amount of power consumed by the cannabis industry.

As the industry scales up cannabis output to meet rising demand, managing power consumption is becoming a priority for businesses  especially in provinces like Alberta, which relies on coal-fired plants for a substantial amount of its power portfolio.

For Freedom Cannabis, a large solar strategy is part of the federally licensed cultivator’s business plan and corporate identity, which includes a commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.

“It’s a reflection of the company we are, and how we think,” said CEO Troy Dezwar in an interview. “It will help shave operating costs off our bottom line, but it’s also something that also sets us apart from our peers.”

When fully functional, the array will offset about 1,041 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and supply about 8% of the building’s annual power consumption.

That adds up to a yearly savings of up to 300,000 Canadian dollars ($230,000).

The cost of the CA$2.5 million project was partly offset by a CA$1 million grant from Energy Efficiency Alberta, a provincial agency promoting energy efficiency.

“Every company should do whatever it can to minimize its impact on the environment,” said Dezwar. “I would encourage cannabis companies to look for ways to minimize their impact on the environment, including water they use, or biofuel options. There’s different things we can do.”

The 4,574 solar modules are installed on the rooftop of Freedom’s 126,000 square foot facility in Acheson, Alberta.

That facility is capable of growing up to 3,500 kilograms of cannabis on an annual bases. Construction is underway on the next phase, which will add 12,000-14,000 kilograms.

Freedom aims to have its cannabis products on store shelves in December 2019, and achieve EU-GMP certification by June 2020, which will open the door to export opportunities.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]
Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

Published at Wed, 23 Oct 2019 18:57:11 +0000

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