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Asparagus field to become solar power farm


August 20, 2008
By The Canadian Press

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asparagus02August 20, 2008, Waterloo, Ont. –
An asparagus crop in Waterloo Region is being plowed down to make room
for the area’s first solar power farm.

August 20, 2008, Waterloo, Ont. – An asparagus crop in Waterloo Region is being plowed down to make room for the area’s first solar power farm.

asparagus02Farmer Tim Barrie is leasing 6.3 hectares of his 49-hectare farm to Arise Technologies to install $14 million worth of solar panel equipment, fencing and transformers. The field is located near Highway 401.

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After 20 years of producing asparagus, Barrie says his field needs the same amount of time to recover before another asparagus crop can be planted.

The solar panels are designed to be removed easily and the field planted back to crops. In the meantime, clover will be planted around the panels to help restore nitrogen to the soil.

Construction of the solar power farm, which will generate about three megawatts of electricity – enough to power about 1,500 homes – is set to start in November.

“All we need is a building permit,” said Jan van der Woerd, sales manager at Arise Technologies.

Arise has a deal with the Ontario Power Authority to sell the power at 42 cents a kilowatt hour for the next 20 years, van de Woerd said. This is four times the going rate, but the authority, which manages the supply of electricity in the province, is trying to encourage development of renewable energy such as solar and wind power.


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