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GSI to develop 100 MW solar project for SaskPower

Iyuhána Solar to be one of Canada's largest contracted solar ventures

Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure CEO Mazen Turk. (Courtesy Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure)

Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure (GSI) will develop one of Canada’s largest contracted solar projects in southeast Saskatchewan as part of provincial utility SaskPower's ongoing grid decarbonization plans.

Named Iyuhána Solar, New York-based GSI will be the majority owner of the 100-megawatt AC, 219-hectare project comprising approximately 190,000 solar modules. Enough power to produce over 200,000 megawatt-hours per year will be generated, equal to powering 25,000 homes.

It will be located in the rural municipality of Estevan, south of Regina. Construction is expected to start in Q2 2025 and commercial operations to begin in December 2026.

GSI, a renewable energy subsidiary of New York-based Libra Group, is a developer, builder, owner and operator of utility-scale solar projects across North America. It has presence in three Canadian provinces and 11 U.S. states and owns or is developing 3.5 gigawatts of renewable energy, waste-to energy and battery projects.

“Placing solar projects strategically allows for the generation of significant clean energy, which is going to contribute to the overall energy mix of Saskatchewan. That’s part of the effort to transition to a more sustainable energy future,” GSI CEO Mazen Turk told Sustainable Biz Canada.

Iyuhána Solar

The project originates from Saskatchewan’s clean energy target of building up to 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2035. Turk said the province has “great” solar radiance, especially in the southern areas.

A 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SaskPower will underpin the Iyuhána Solar site. Power will be secured at a contracted price, which provides stability both for a utility in securing long-term power and for the developer/operator, Turk said. The model also offers more visibility over long-term power supply and is easier to finance, he added.

GSI will invest approximately $200 million into Iyuhána Solar, including spending for a community engagement plan with a local First Nations group. GSI will support members of Ocean Man First Nation with training programs for construction and long-term maintenance for the project, and plans to launch scholarships with two universities to foster the know-how to operate solar projects.

"Our partnership with GSI and SaskPower will bring great opportunities for Ocean Man First Nation, including employment and revenue that will provide stability and sustainability for our Band," Ocean Man First Nation Chief Connie Big Eagle said in a release.

"We are proud that this project, which is able to generate clean power, will be known as Iyuhána Solar, which, in Nakotah translates to 'everyone' or 'all of us.'"

Iyuhána Solar is not GSI’s first collaboration with an Indigenous group. In Colombia, it is developing a 150-megawatt solar project with the Arhuaco people.

The Ocean Man First Nation will be a minority partner in the project.

GSI expects Iyuhána Solar to be one of Canada’s largest contracted solar projects upon completion. Turk said it will be on par with two 100-megawatt projects from 2015.

“Since 2015 there hasn’t been a solar project with a long-term contract with a utility in Canada, until this one.”

GSI’s future projects

As for GSI’s other Canadian projects, Turk said it is developing a 20-megawatt solar project in Alberta and is looking at developing projects in Ontario.

Turk is excited about the growth potential in Saskatchewan and plans to participate in a request for a quote from SaskPower for two additional 100-megawatt solar projects in mid-March.

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