Sun rises on solar panel partnership on city-owned buildings

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
June 21st, 2017

The city is switched on to the idea of a solar panel project partnership on city buildings with a private company.

City council confirmed that it was on board with partnership funding for the installation of the renewable solar energy projects in Grand Forks — an idea which requires a matching city contribution of $25,000.

Solar Now will contribute $25,000 dollars for deployment of solar photovoltaic energy systems on one or more of the city’s public buildings, said Bill Swan, program coordinator for Solar Now, in a letter to council.

All technical expertise, installation personnel and procurement processes are provided in this program that seeks to deploy six systems in six communities over the next 16 months. 

“We are also participating in the Accelerate Kootenays Electric Vehicle Charging Network that will see the installation of approximately 65 electric vehicle chargers enabling EV drivers to tour the entire Kootenay region,” said Swan. 

The charger locations have already been selected and some of these chargers will have an opportunity for solar photovoltaic systems to be associated with them. Solar Now has $12,500 to be matched or exceeded by the EV charger host for this renewable energy component. 

These energy systems generate grid-tied, carbon-free electrical power that reduces an electricity bill at source, Swan explained. 

“At a broad level we then identify any of your public buildings and sites suitable for installation of a solar system,” he said. “We conduct this assessment based on technical and social criteria such as how much energy can be generated and what will the extent of social impact and communications be from the installation.”

City halls, community centres, visitor centres and other places that see large public gatherings are primary candidates, Swan said.

The city already has solar on its aquatic centre, said Coun. Julia Butler, but maybe solar panels could go on the visitor centre, city hall or the library.

Chief administrative officer Diane Heinrich said city staff already did the research on the proposal to see how it would work, and there was money in the Gas Tax Fund ($37,000) to pay for the project.

“So we’ve already got the money in the budget, so if council wanted to put something forward for staff to look at, we could do it,” she said.

Butler was concerned about the heritage visage of the art gallery and city hall and how the panels might look those roofs. She asked for city staff to prepare a report on the options available for this grant opportunity and come back to council. 

Heinrich said the company does the assessment, while the city only had to say ‘Yes’ to the project.

Mayor Frank Konrad said Swan could present as a delegation and all council questions could be answered at that point.

A motion passed for city council to accept the Solar Now project, direct city staff to contact Clean Energy Canada and express to them an interest on pursuing the Solar Now project.

What is Solar Now?

Solar Now is a project of Clean Energy Canada that through the support of the North Growth Foundation seeks to deploy solar renewable energy systems in prominent public locations to advance Canadian’s understanding of solar energy and take action on climate change. 

Clean Energy Canada, at the Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University is the lead agency for Solar Now. Clean Energy Canada works to accelerate the nation’s transition to a clean and renewable energy system — by building awareness of, and support for, solutions that address climate disruption and foster an energy-efficient, environmentally responsible, and prosperous economy. 

To date, installations have been completed or underway at the Creekside Paddling Centre on False Creek, the exciting rooftop garden renovation at the Vancouver Public Library and at the Bowen Island Community School.

Categories: General

Other News Stories