Solar electric panels. (File photo)

City to investigate solar power potential of three municipal buildings

Salmon Arm Art Gallery, city hall and downtown fire hall to be focus of study

Three city buildings will be scrutinized with solar power in mind.

City council has agreed to hire a consultant to look into the feasibility of installing a solar photovoltaic system at the arts centre, city hall and fire hall #3 on Ross Street.

The aim will be to evaluate and then select one of the three buildings to be equipped with solar power.

Coun. Tim Lavery, who’s been leading the initiative, said the idea all along has been to have a pilot project to reflect the energy usage and requirements of average residents.

The first stage of the project would be funded to a maximum of $5,000 from the city’s climate action reserve.

Lavery said while it can takes 12 to 13 years for a system to pay for itself, they can last 20 to 25 years.

Related: Harnessing sun in Shuswap

Coun. Syliva Lindgren says she’s excited as the project opens up a lot of possibilities.

“I’ve attended a couple of meetings of the solar society,” she said, noting there’s good evidence this is a worthwhile project.

Coun. Debbie Cannon said she supports the plan and has wanted to see this happen for a long time.

Mayor Alan Harrison thanked Lavery for his leadership.

Related: City warms to solar power

A Dec. 2018 report to council from Carl Bannister, the city’s chief administrative officer, on the feasibility of installing green technology on a city-owned facility, included cautions about the financial costs of green technology.

“While the pursuit of green technology is important and shows leadership by Council, the economic benefits are often speculative at best. Take, for example, the Geothermal system at City Hall. While this is a sustainable and more environmentally friendly method than utilizing conventional heating sources, the operating and maintenance costs routinely outweigh any energy savings,” he wrote.


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marthawickett@saobserver.net

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