Mayor Helen Posti (centre) receives a framed photo from Deputy Mayor Colleen Ebden (right) and CAO Jack Ramsden to commemorate her receiving the Award of Excellence at last week’s AUMA Convention in Edmonton. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Eckville Echo

Eckville to add solar power to Town properties

Town Council voted to allow administration to proceed with two separate solar powered projects

Eckville Town Council is looking to add solar powered streetlights to Main Street and solar panels to the Eckville Arena.

At the regular meeting on Sept. 30, Council heard delegations from Tagish Engineering and ENMAX weighing the pros and cons of solar options.

Tagish Engineering is working with administration on the solar streetlight project, which would see solar powered lights put up along Main Street.

The delegation, which was based on the addition of 12 lights, showed using solar streetlights would save the Town money.

Twelve solar lights, including installation and bases, would cost $156,075 (excluding GST), whereas traditional lights were quoted at $222,742.

Solar lights will also result in no monthly power bill and would need minimal concrete removal to install along the sidewalks.

Council voted to have administration proceed with putting solar powered streetlights on Main Street. Currently, the Town is looking at ordering 15 lights from Clear Blue Technologies International Inc. in Ontario.

Council also voted to have administration express interest in the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) Municipal Solar Program application to add solar panels to the Eckville Arena.

The decision came after reviewing ENMAX’s Solar Generating Proposal from Account Manager Kelly Lenyk.

The proposal was made up to show the benefits of several sites around town being able to generate solar power, but it was decided the arena project makes the most sense at this time as it will benefit the most.

During the solar process ENMAX applies for grants and carries out inspections for you while also covering the system bumper-to-bumper for the length of its financing, Lenyk said.

The modules, or solar panels, are also guaranteed to produce for 25 years and everything is installed by ENMAX contractors.

For Eckville the authorized solar dealer is CBI Solar out of Red Deer.

The project has been quoted at a total of $328,400 plus GST. This breaks down in to an $141,500 plus GST down payment and a monthly payment of $1,291 over 15 years.

As a first time participant in the Municipal Solar Program (MCCAC) the project is eligible for an additional 25 cents per watt rebate.

This means the Arena Solar Investment will be able to sell excess power back to the grid for a credit.

In his presentation Lenyk showed a Year One budget view that showed the total charges coming in at a positive of $900 after rebates and savings, such as $3,200 a year in energy charges.

He also explained the overall savings would be around $10,000 annually after the investment’s first 15 years.

Pricing for the system and viability is subject to structural and electrical engineering approvals, as well as final design and available grants.

The next regular scheduled Council meeting is on Oct. 15.

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