T%he Green Acres Hutterite Colony farms 20,000 acres. They already raised their own meat, and grew their own vegetables, so generating their own power was a logical next step.
The climate of Alberta means that it's one of the best places in Canada for solar panels, and the project made economic sense. After running the numbers by the bank, they were able to secure funding for the project without too much trouble. They were able to supply their own labour for the project, further reducing their cost.
In addition to making sense financially, the project also fit in well with the Hutterite values of self-sufficiency and good guardianship of the earth. The green nature of the project didn't go unappreciated.Solar does not need to be on such a large scale for it to make sense, however. An average rural home-owner can get similar benefits, on a smaller scale. Many rural Albertans are going solar - for self sufficiency, for eco-friendliness, and as an investment in the future. Right now, it's not uncommon for an investment in solar power to have an estimated payback period of around 10 years. Owning panels also insulates you from potential future price rises in power. Solar panels are durable, and require very little maintenance.