Community Solar Energy Information Session being held July 10
The Plymouth Community Centre is now self-sufficient thanks to 72 solar panels installed under the Nova Scotia Government’s Solar for Electricity for Community Buildings Program. An information session will be held Wednesday, July 10 at the Plymouth Community Centre at 7 p.m. for other community groups interested in learning more about the provincial program.
The Plymouth Community Centre is setting an example for others when it comes to energy efficient community centres.
The busy rural centre recently installed 72 solar panels on its roof under the province’s Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program which is currently accepting applications for this year’s program.
“The Plymouth Community Centre is now self-sufficient,” said District 11 Coun. Andy Thompson. “We installed a 22kW solar panel array under the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings. We were awarded a bid price that we can sell the power we produce back into the grid. Under this COMFIT program we have a preferential rate (.31/kWh) that we sell back to the grid like the arrangements for other renewable energy sources such as wind towers.”
As part of the solar process, the community centre's chimney was decommissioned.
The Plymouth Community Centre entered into a 20-power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power and by installing solar under this program it has eliminated energy costs for the building. Thompson said the volunteer board also has a new revenue stream over the next 20 years to help fund the operations and over time he said they will do other energy efficiency upgrades such as new windows and insulation.
“There are two meters on our building now,” he said. “One meters how much power we purchase from NSP and another that meters how much power we produce and send back into the grid. We must lead by example and not simply talk about climate change or a climate emergency. By installing solar, the Plymouth Community Centre is a leader in our community.”
A public information session will be held on July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Plymouth Community Centre for volunteers of community organizations (fire departments and community centres) who are interested in applying under the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings.
The program is open for the third and final year. Successful applicants will be awarded the opportunity to sell power back to the utility at a preferential rate under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The deadline to apply is August 9.
“There will be experts in solar energy at this meeting and we will provide a brief overview of the program and gauge interest from community groups,” he said.
Community buildings projects can be up to 75 kilowatts. Applicants propose a price per kilowatt hour for the electricity they will generate. Successful organizations will enter into a 20-year agreement with their electric utility. The impact to ratepayers is capped at 0.1 per cent, which is already built into the rate stability plan. Clean Foundation independently evaluates submissions and selects the successful projects.
The program is for Mi'kmaw communities, registered non-profit or charitable organizations, municipalities or organizations owned by municipalities, universities or community colleges in Nova Scotia.
“As far as the Plymouth Community Centre is concerned, they no longer look at this as a financial burden to operate. It generates power every day of the week,” said Thompson. “Once the financing is paid, off the community will be free to re-invest not only in the building but also focus on its main task which is to provide recreation and social opportunities for our residents.”
For more information visit https://www.novascotia.ca/solar/ .