Air­drie rec cen­tre to set na­tional record for rooftop so­lar pan­els

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - ZACH LAING [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/zjlaing

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.

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