Solar project good use of industrial land says St. Clair mayor


St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold says a plan to place solar panels on land near Highway 40 is the right use for industrial land.

BluEarth Renewables hopes to win a government contract this fall for a 13-megawatt solar project on land owned by Pembina Pipeline in St. Clair Township.

The panels will be on both sides of Highway 40 between LaSalle Line and Petrolia Line.

If the company wins a contract in the fall, it expects the project could be up and running by 2018.

BluEarth’s website says it has “started consulting with area stakeholders and will be hosting a public open house on July 15.”

The company will be talking with St. Clair Township council July 20, but Arnold says from what he can see, it is a well-thought out plan.

Arnold says the land “cannot be developed into anything more” and will provide “a buffer” between the highway and Pembina’s operations. “It will utilize land which otherwise wouldn’t be used.”

Arnold expects to hear concerns about possible glare from the solar panels for drivers on Highway 40, but he says the solar projets he’s seen are angled in such a way it is unlikely to effect drivers.

While the mayor wouldn’t speculate if the municipality would give the project an endorsement – which would make it more likely to win a provincial government contract – Arnold did say “if you look in our history as a council, we have not turned down any solar project, especially with the use of industrial land.”