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Ontario To Build One Of World's Largest Solar Farms

Ontario's electricity grid will soon get a boost from 14 new renewable energy projects - including North America's largest solar farm - awarded through the Standard Offer Program, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced today.

"The Standard Offer Program is transforming the way we generate electricity in Ontario," said Duncan. "This program is giving Ontarians the opportunity to help strengthen our energy system and clean up our air."

One of the projects announced today is one of the world's largest solar farms, to be built in Sarnia. OptiSolar Farms will install over one million ground-mounted solar panels to convert solar power into electricity. This project will comprise four solar farms and will contribute 40 megawatts to the grid by 2010 - enough to supply electricity for 6,000 homes.

"I am very pleased that our community was chosen as the site for this major new project," said Caroline Di Cocco, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton. "It just goes to show that Sarnia-Lambton has the right mix of infrastructure and people, making it a great place to invest. I am very proud of the work that everyone has done to make this happen."

"The Ontario government has chosen to take a world-leading role in encouraging the development of renewable energy, and the Standard Offer Program is making things happen," said OptiSolar Farms vice-president Peter Carrie. "Our goal is to make solar power a mainstream energy source."

The projects include two residential-sized solar photovoltaic installations, several 10-megawatt wind farms and two waterpower projects with First Nations participation. The Gitchi Animki Bezhig project will produce more than eight megawatts of electricity; the Gitchi Animki Niizh project will produce 9.9 megawatts. All of the contracted projects are expected to be in service by 2010.

"This program continues to demonstrate Ontario's international leadership in developing small renewable generation," said Paul Shervill, a vice-president of the Ontario Power Authority, the developer and manager of the Standard Offer Program. "But I am most pleased by the number, scope and provincewide geography of the projects - it demonstrates that Ontarians are truly engaged in our electricity future."

Today's announcement brings to 36 the number of projects awarded under the Standard Offer Program since February. Taken together, these projects will generate 250 megawatts of renewable energy - enough to power more than 55,000 homes.

Ontario's Renewable Standard Offer Program is the largest of its kind in North America and is expected to add 1,000 megawatts of clean energy to the grid over the next 10 years.

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