April 9, 2019
“Terralta has been around since 2006, and has been in solar since 2008,” says owner and operator Marcus Campbell at the company’s office in Medicine Hat’s Southwest Industrial area. “To see the company in 2008, 2009, 2010, to where it is today, it’s significantly different.”
Terralta started as a geothermal, plumbing and mechanical company before partnering with Enmax in 2009 to install residential, commercial and agricultural solar energy projects.
“Years ago, the project sizes were quite small,” says Campbell. “If we did a 10 kilowatt (KW) system we were quite happy.
But now, systems are growing in size. That’s in part because the price of solar equipment has dropped significantly and become more efficient, making solar an economical choice.”
Recent major projects include Medicine Hat College’s Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project (CREMDP) in partnership with Enmax, and a solar installation at Medicine Hat’s newest school, Dr. Ken Sauer School. Terralta has also installed solar energy projects for the Town of Raymond and Town of Cardston municipal buildings.
Future projects include solar systems for Medicine Hat Christian School and the St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID), in addition to more residential systems.
“The amount of interest that has been generated in our little area here is significant,” says Campbell, highlighting the short travel distances to projects. “I can’t imagine us being in a better spot to service the surrounding area.”
Part of that interest is driven by the City of Medicine Hat’s HAT Smart incentive program, which offers participating Medicine Hat homeowners up to $0.75 per watt to a maximum of $5,000 for installing solar photovoltaic systems. Since 2008, HAT Smart has given Medicine Hatters $5 million in rebates, driving interest in residential solar installations.
Terralta’s staff has grown from four employees in 2008 to 15 employees at the present time, with a fully certified electrical division.
“We have a workforce that’s being trained for us by the Medicine Hat College,” says Campbell of finding qualified candidates. “There is a trades wing with an electrical program and the school has a solar PV installation certification course.”
Up to eight more employees are expected to join Terralta in 2019 and 2020 to complete projects in the queue. The company is typically looking for second and third year journeyman electricians, labourers, and may require project managers.