Fortis project will pay for itself
Dear Editor: We would like to address concerns raised in a letter by Jim Church, “Solar power not effective when it’s subsidized,” (Okanagan Weekend, Oct. 7).
We addressed similar questions about our proposed Ellison Community Solar Pilot Project (the Ellison Solar Project) during the BC Utilities Commission application process, which closed Oct. 5.
We are committed to providing our customers with the energy they need today and in the future — safely, reliably and at the lowest reasonable cost. As we pursue renewable options, like the Ellison Solar Project, our aim is to provide choice while protecting the interests of all customers.
We developed the Ellison Solar Project as a small pilot project to gauge the interest of our customers and the rates we have proposed reflect the full cost of the project. When fully subscribed, the costs will be covered by participants. If not fully subscribed, the modest size of the pilot project ensures that any shared costs are minimal.
In developing this project, FortisBC received engineering, procurement and construction proposals from three vendors and selected Calgary-based SkyFire Energy Inc., the lowest cost and most experienced. Their projects of note include the rooftop system at Okanagan College in Kelowna and Telus Garden in Vancouver.
We were able to use data collected from other installations in this area, as well as draw on the expertise of Fortis-owned Tucson Electric, which has extensive experience in solar installations.
As with any solar installation, the amount of power produced will vary. The generation numbers we used to determine the solar rates are based on Natural Resources Canada data for the Okanagan area.
While close to 100 per cent of our electricity is from clean, renewable hydro generation, customers are interested in supporting alternative renewable electricity generating sources.
If approved, this project will provide an option to these customers who may face barriers to having a system of their own. It will also provide valuable information that could help develop other similar renewable energy projects.
Customers who have questions about this project or other ways we are pursuing renewable energy are encouraged to get in touch with us.
Mark Warren, director, Business Innovation & Measurement, FortisBC