Page 4 - November 21 2016
P. 4

Town considers solar energy possibilities

by Adrienne Tait

With looming carbon taxes, increased in energy
costs, an upgraded wastewater treatment facility in
the works, and budget talks the town is
contemplating the viability of renewable energy as
an alternative electricity source and investment
An idea originally proposed at council retreat by
Dawit Solomon, director of engineering for the
town, led to a presentation by representatives from
Grace Energy and its partner Sentinel Solar at town
council's regular council meeting on November 15.
Grace Energy's business development director
Rick Hilton presented council with a brief overview photo Adrienne Tait
of the technology behind solar modules and solar
energy, provided a case study of a solar system Grace Energy business development director Rick Hilton, Grace Energy partner Patrick Grace, and
Sentinel Solar's business development manager Western Canada Mike McFadden came before Edson
installed at the Green Acres Hutterite colony near town council on Tuesday to deliver a presentation regarding the advantages of investing in solar energy.
Hussar, and reviewed potential sites and
Currently there is only about 7MW of energy to be purchasing over a 25 year period.” Griffiths Park.
generated by solar systems in Alberta. Should the According to today's projections and commodity “For Edson the proposal that we have is a 4.4
Town of Edson choose to install a larger system prices, should the town choose to install a solar MegaWatt project,” said Hilton, “It will generate
Hilton said Edson could become known as a green system the town would hit a “break even” point at about 7 million KW hours of electricity per year.
energy town. 14 years and by 23 years after installation the The system has the capacity to offset about 5,000
The Town of Edson uses approximately 3.4 MW system would have paid for itself. metric tonnes of CO2. That's a lot. On a yearly
per year to run their municipal facilities. When The system has a 10 year warranty of materials basis that is over 500,000 gallons of gasoline, 5
asked what the monthly energy bill for the town and workmanship with a 25 or 30 year power million pounds of coal, 11,000 barrels of crude oil.”
was estimated to be, Solomon said approximately output warrant. Hilton told council that the solar Mayor Greg Pasychny pointed out that those
$100,000. The expected increased energy modules are warrantied to be 83% efficient in the carbon offsets may provide increased opportunity
consumption at the upgraded wastewater treatment 25 year. for grant funding.
facility, which currently has a 1000kPa transformer, “This is not a five year ROI [return on Mayor Pasychny said, “Going off the Hutterite
is not included. That facility is anticipated to be investment],” said Hilton, “but if you have the land colony if they are using 2MW per year they went
one of, if not the, biggest energy user by the or spot that fits it and the time or longevity and with 2 MW per year to get all their power back. To
municipality. forward thinking then this becomes another crop. me, our entire town if we are consuming 3.5 MW
Hilton said, “It [solar] is never going to provide They are basically growing electricity over 25 per year we should be building a 3.5MW per year
you base power because we have night. So you do years.” facility so we that we have a full return on our
need some base power which, in Alberta, will be Roof mounts are cheaper and may be preferred on investment at the end of it.”
gas. We will be moving towards gas turbines I am a building such as Repsol Place. The tracker style Installation fees for the company have decreased
sure. That provides the base load power but what system, which is more expensive but also more over the years and are now around $2 per watt.
solar can do for companies and municipalities is it efficient, was suggested for an area such as at the The capital cost for a 2MW system was estimated
can offset the cost of your power that you are going Edson airport, Galloway Station and Museum, or to be $4.6 million.
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