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Summerland receives grant for solar energy project

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March 28, 2017 - 2:30 PM

SUMMERLAND - The District of Summerland's integrated solar project received a big boost this week with a funding announcement from the province.

The municipality was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Rural Dividend Fund to assist the community in developing a large scale solar array, according to a District of Summerland media release.

Summerland sustainability and alternative energy coordinator Tami Rothery says the grant will help answer questions regarding where best to locate the array, how big it should be, and how much power it should be designed to produce.

She says the project is beyond the concept stage, but no firm decisions have been made yet, nor has a completed cost for the array been estimated.

Rothery expects the municipality will have answers to most of those questions by this fall.

“This is a priority of this council to really move on this. We’ve done enough work to know we really want to do it, so at this stage we’ll be aggressive to get this information now,” she says in the release.

Summerland is one of five municipalities in B.C. who own their own electrical utility.

“We buy all our power from Fortis right now, so the idea would be to be able to offset some of that purchase with our own generated power, and potentially in the future look at other sources to generate power from,” Rothery says.

A well-attended public meeting was held in Summerland in February, with members of the public showing increasing interest in the building of a solar array, she says.


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