Airdrie rec centre to set national record for rooftop solar panels
The City of Airdrie will host the largest solar-panelled rooftop in the country, after city councillors endorsed the project last week.
The project approved for Airdrie’s Genesis Place — a multipurpose recreational facility on the city’s east end — will see solar panels offset 28 per cent of the electricity consumed there.
The panels will produce 1.4 megawatts per hour annually, resulting in more than $100,000 in savings per year, the city said.
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown said the plan was conceived by a member of the city’s staff, which prompted conversations with the province and Enmax.
“We all thought it would be an awesome initiative,” Brown said.
“It’s very exciting and I’m excited (for it) to be one of the first of many fields coming into our community. I think it’s our first major foray into solar, and for a community that wants to go green, this is a great start.
“Right out of the chute, it’s a positive change to how our traditional habits were.”
The panels are expected to export 140 kilowatts per hour back to the city grid during summers, when power generation is at its peak. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 916 tonnes — equivalent to taking 194 vehicles off the road.
Enmax, which supplies Airdrie with its electricity, has been installing solar-powered systems in the province since 2009 and has more than 1,000 in Alberta.
The largest solar rooftop is currently in Leduc, but Brown says that while they will take over the title, it may not last for long.
“Well, I think it will be shortlived, just knowing how many other centres have large facilities, but it’s exciting, for sure,” he said.
The systems have been extensively tested for impact and wind resistance, being able to withstand 800-kilogram loads placed on them, and come with a 30-year performance guarantee.