Back to top

Grand Forks officially recognized as a Solar Community

Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor checks out one of the solar cars designed by Hutton Elementary students; Photo, Mona Mattei

If the fun that the students from the participating elementary schools had is anyway to judge success, then the Solar Days event organized by the Grand Forks Solar Committee was a winner. From the trade show featuring information from different companies about solar equipment to the miniature solar car races the day’s events were well attended last Friday, May 28. Organizer Paul Pinard had support from the committee, Grand Forks City Councillors Joy Davies, Chris Moslin and Christine Thompson as well as Mayor Brian Taylor at the event where over 80 students and 125 people were in attendance.

Davies said that as soon as the doors opened in the morning there were over 70 people who visited the trade show and solar car exhibit at the Seniors’ Hall in City Park. Originally a brainchild of the solar committee of the Grand Forks Economic Development Task Force, the idea of being a solar community has been eagerly adopted by the city council.

The biggest announcement of the day was the unveiling that the City of Grand Forks was officially recognized as a Solar Community by SolarBC. Six communities across B.C. were admitted as official solar communities this year adding to the original nine communities. The designation brings $5,000 to Grand Forks to use on solar education and activities.

“Being recognized as a Solar Community from SolarBC is good promotion for Grand Forks and it also means that the city council accepts solar in the city,” said Pinard.

The exhibit showed off the talents of the students from the two Grand Forks elementary schools who paired up to build, decorate, and innovate miniature solar cars donated by FortisBC. Pinard and Moslin spent time in each class showing the youth how to build their cars, and then they were encouraged to upgrade and decorate their new vehicles prior to race day. Each car was designed by teams of at least two students. Prizes donated by the Canucks and SolarBC were given to the best decorated and the most original cars from each school.

“The people who visited were very interested in what was happening and the companies who had displays were happy with the amount of questions and the quality of the questions,” said Pinard.

The trade show at the hall included four different companies providing solar technology in the area: Omineca Solar Designs from Rossland, Boundary Electric from Grand Forks, Beyond the Grid Inc. from Alberta, and Mainstream Mechanical Ltd. from Grand Forks. Each installer had different equipment targeting a variety of needs from solar hot water to electricity and heating systems. People browsing the show had the chance to explore different ideas for changing their home systems to solar.

"Since it was our first time there was a few hitchs, but overall the kids had a good time, the people who were there had a good time and I think it gave a chance for the kids to learn that solar does work!” said Pinard.

The highlight of the day was the solar car races. Each school’s teams raced their cars down a short course in heats to lead up to the final race to determine the fastest car for each school. Watch for our video coverage and the winners of the races TBA.

For more pictures of the day's events go to the Sentinel - About town