Canadian government investing CAD$3.9 million in solar

The funding, announced by the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport), is part of the government’s action to improve economic and environmental performance and support high-quality jobs. The project will include retrofitting municipal buildings with solar energy, working with developers to build new model energy-efficient buildings, working with homeowners to retrofit up to 1,000 homes, and installing electric vehicle-charging infrastructure throughout the city.

"We are aiming to help retrofit 1,000 Colwood homes with solar hot water and other clean energy upgrades over the next three years," said Mayor David Saunders.

Judith Cullington, Colwood City Councillor also told pv magazine that Colwood will be installing a photovoltaics (PV) system on the roof of the Fire Hall, using a grid intertie system, which can feed surplus energy back into the hydro grid. A solar hot water heating system will also be installed. "The juxtaposition of the two systems will make it easy to show people what the two types of system look like and to explain how they work. We will be putting out an RFP for supply and installation in the near future, the final choice of systems will depend on who can provide us with the best bid," she explained.

She went on to say the city will be working with the developer at the local Colwood Corners re-development to install solar thermal in the residences, make all units PV ready, and install enough PV to make about 10 of the units approach net zero.

Several direct jobs are also expected to be created. Cullington commented: "Best estimates at this time are jobs for solar installers (about eight to 12 FTE (full time equivalent)), energy assessors (four FTE), in addition to the program management team (three FTE)."

She continued: "More importantly, we see a large number of economic spin off benefits, as contractors eat at local restaurants, buy gas in our community, etc. When homeowners have more money in their pockets – from energy cost savings – they have more to spend locally. We are also encouraging homeowners to look at a variety of other energy saving retrofits – from simple weatherstripping to new windows – that will also support the local economy."

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested more than CAD$10 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment through investments in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.