The principal of a school on a remote B.C. island says the results of installing a solar power system have been illuminating.
Reid Wilson says it cost about $300,000 to install the system at the 30 student False Bay School on Lasqueti Island, but that they will save $25,000 a year in energy costs.
"I imagine in a little over a decade, essentially as far as the taxpayer is concerned, we're going to be powering our school for free," said Wilson.
The system formally came on line last March and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 28 tonnes a year from kindergarten to Grade 8 school
Lasqueti Island is located off the east side of Vancouver Island in the middle of the Strait of Georgia and is known as a
counter-culture enclave of about 450 people.
It is accessible by passenger-only vessels and off the provincial power grid, which forces residents to embrace alternate energy options to light their homes and power their appliances.
The school solar project will cut diesel fuel use from about 16,000 litres annually to about 6,000 litres.
Clean Energy BC, the province's private power industry association, handed Lasqueti Island its "Community of the Year"
award last month for the conversion.
Daniel Jacobs, a 43-year Lasqueti resident, said most people on the island use solar power in their homes, but the school, with its loud and dirty diesel generator belching fumes, had become an environmental blight on the community.
"It was an embarrassment, basically," he said.
Wilson said it took a decade to convince school district officials solar was the way to go.