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Shining down on the solar garden

The Solar Garden located next to the Nelson Hydro generation plant in Bonnington earned honourable mention for the Community Solar Garden at the Community Energy Association’s (CEA) annual awards recognizing the leadership of BC local governments and public sector organizations.

One of the first municipal solar projects in Canada has been given some accolades.

At the 2018 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, presented the City of Nelson an honourable mention for the Community Solar Garden at the Community Energy Association’s (CEA) annual awards recognizing the leadership of BC local governments and public sector organizations.

CEA’s Trish Dehnel said a panel of independent judges selected the community solar garden for the award because it made solar energy available to those who otherwise who would be unable to use it.

The project brings solar energy to a wide range of people, most of whom could not afford the cost of solar energy installation of their own.

Once it became operational, each citizen’s share received a solar generation credit on account equal to the amount of electricity generated by the panel.

“While Nelson Hydro owns the capital investment, these citizen investors own the electricity generated for 25 years,” said Dehnel.

In all, 248 panels were bought and installed on city-owned land and 68,000 kilowatt hours of electricity were generated in the first year of operation.

“The solar garden provides an inspiring example for governments across B.C. and Canada,” Dehnel said in presenting the award.

The Community Solar Garden (CSG) is a one-of-a-kind solar array that is comprised of individual solar panels that have been grouped together and maintained in a single location, compared to other systems that install panels on individual roof tops. This central location provides unprecedented access to those who may rent, have shading issues or unsuitable roofs.

In addition, owners of the panels do not have to worry about the maintenance or how their panel is performing as it is part of a collective and not individually owned.

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