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July 23, 2019, 11:29 am

Central Saanich's Fire Station's Solar Panels Benefit Community

District of Central Saanich

CENTRAL SAANICH -  With the addition of 360 solar panels, Central Saanich’s Fire Station 1 is a shining example of cost-effective renewable energy.

On a sunny day, the electricity captured is more than double what the station needs for power, making it not only energy-neutral, but putting power back into the community's energy grid and powering nearby buildings.

By harnessing the sun’s free energy, annually, the Fire Station will generate up to 80 per cent of its energy consumption, which is the equivalent to powering about 12 residential homes (138 kilowatts). The Station demands significant energy because of its size and supported safety equipment. It is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design) Silver standard and includes geothermal heating. The municipality hopes to achieve energy neutrality through new energy conservation measures.

The project was funded from the District’s Climate Leadership Reserve Fund, which will recoup the investment through savings from reduced hydro costs without any impact on property taxes. The PV system is expected to completely recover the installed cost in 11 years. Net earnings are estimated to be over $500,000 after 25 years. If the panels reach full life, they will return over $1 million dollars in savings.

“These highly visible panels demonstrate what’s possible as we move toward a target of 100-per-cent renewable energy community-wide by 2050,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “Solar is able to provide energy with minimal environmental impact compared to other sources. While it requires an investment upfront, the costs of solar panels is projected to decrease considerably and it is going to be a critical source of energy in the future.”

The District of Central Saanich is committed to reducing contribution to climate change, and the Fire Hall can offset up to 102 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Learn more about the Climate Action in Central Saanich.

Acting Fire Chief Neal Widdifield, Mayor Ryan Windsor, Councillor Zeb King, Councillor Gord Newton, and Hakai Energy's Rob McKinnis and Jason Wilson celebrate the project. 

The community will be able to learn more about solar power and home energy retrofits through upcoming District events.

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