See­ing so­lar

Mon­tague coun­cil in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tive en­ergy op­tions

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD Mitchell.mac­don­ald@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mitch_PEI

Town coun­cil is look­ing to see if there’s a sunny side to pow­er­ing its lo­cal rink with so­lar en­ergy.

Coun­cil­lors dis­cussed a re­quest for a de­ci­sion dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing ask­ing if coun­cil would give the go-ahead for a study weigh­ing the pros and cons of in­stalling a so­lar power field at the Cavendish Farms Well­ness Cen­tre.

The re­quest asked whether coun­cil would sign off on a $3,190 study, taxes in­cluded, con­ducted by the build­ing’s ar­chi­tects Coles As­so­ciates.

Chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice Andy Daggett, who made the re­quest, said a so­lar field may help off­set the cen­tre’s heavy re­liance of elec­tri­cal power.

“Power is one of our big­gest costs at the Well­ness Cen­tre, it’s some­where be­tween eight to ten thou­sand a month once the com­pres­sors are up and op­er­at­ing to make ice,” said Daggett. “I thought ($3,190) is not a lot of money to spend to know whether (so­lar power) makes sense and whether it’s worth pur­su­ing.”

If a so­lar ar­ray project was worth pur­su­ing, Daggett noted the town could pos­si­bly get fund­ing through a new Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for the Cli­mate In­no­va­tion Pro­gram, which aims to help com­mu­ni­ties re­duce their green­house gas he­mis­sions.

Coles As­so­ciates has al­ready ad­vised the town against plac­ing a so­lar ar­ray on the fa­cil­i­ties roof. The com­pany has com­pleted sev­eral stud­ies in re­cent months on ground ar­rays, which could be a pos­si­bil­ity for Mon­tague.

All coun­cil­lors showed sup­port in look­ing into so­lar op­tions.

“I’m cer­tainly more in favour of this type of project than I am with any­thing to do with wood or things like that,” said Coun. Deb­bie John­ston, ref­er­enc­ing the Well­ness Cen­tre’s pre­vi­ous wood fur­nace, which was later re­moved par­tially due to its un­re­li­a­bil­ity.

John­ston said she was also in­ter­ested in see­ing what the yearly main­te­nance for a so­lar ar­ray would cost, which Daggett said would likely be in­cluded in the study.

Deputy mayor David Mabon said he was also in­ter­ested in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the so­lar op­tion.

“To me, it can’t be any­thing but good,” said Mabon.

Coun­cil­lors will give a fi­nal vote on whether to give the study the go-ahead dur­ing its next reg­u­lar meet­ing in two weeks.

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Mon­tague chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Andy Daggett dis­cusses the pos­si­bil­ity of pow­er­ing the Cavendish Farms Well­ness Cen­tre with so­lar en­ergy dur­ing the town’s com­mit­tee of coun­cil meet­ing on Mon­day. Coun­cil will vote in two weeks whether to fund a study that would weigh the pros and cons of in­stalling a so­lar ar­ray at the cen­tre.

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