Case Studies

The Hamilton Port Hope 4 Solar Farm

solar farm acoustic assessment ontario MOE

Location: Township of Hamilton, Northumberland County, Ontario
Owner/Developer: Penn Energy Renewables

The Hamilton Port Hope 4 Solar Farm is a proposed 10 MW solar electrical generation project expected to be operational by Fall 2013.

HGC Engineering was asked to undertake an Acoustic Assessment for the proposed project.  The study is required in support of an application for a Renewable Energy Approval from the Ontario Ministry of The Environment (“MOE”), under the Renewable Energy Act (“REA”).

Solar Farm Primary Sound Sources

The farm will consist of numerous fixed array mounted solar panels, up to eleven collection houses, and up to two primary transformers. The sound sources associated with the facility will be the collection houses – which include a secondary transformer, two inverters and a ventilation fan – and up to two primary transformers. The inverters are power semiconductor devices which synthesize alternating current (“A/C”) from the direct current produced by the solar panels. The solar panels themselves are passive, direct current devices and do not produce sound. They are thus not considered as sources in  assessment. The area surrounding the subject facility is a “Rural” (Class 3) acoustical environment.

Acoustical Measurements and Predictive Analysis

Sound emissions from key items of proposed equipment were based on information provided by the equipment manufacturers and established prediction methods for the transformers.  The source sound levels were used as input to a predictive acoustical model to quantify the environmental sound emissions associated with the facility

The acoustical measurements and predictive analysis, without any special noise control measures, indicated that the predicted sound levels of the facility will be within the applicable sound level limits specified in MOE guidelines NPC-232, during all hours of the day and night, under typical “predictable worst case” operating conditions at all identified existing off-site receptor locations.

HGC Engineering has completed comprehensive Acoustic Assessments for a number of proposed solar farm projects in Ontario ranging in size from 6 MW to 10 MW on behalf of Penn Energy Renewables in support of their Renewable Energy Approval Applications.


Acoustical Engineering Services Included:

  • Acoustical measurements and Predictive Analysis
  • Preparing detailed acoustical assessment reports in accordance with Ontario Ministry of the Environment “MOE” procedures.



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