The Town of Banff's biggest consumer of electricity will now get 20 per cent of it from solar power, thanks to the installation of the largest solar photovoltaic system in the Bow Valley.

The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre started harnessing the sun's power on July 25 with an array of 984 solar panels on its roof. The town put on a party Tuesday to celebrate the achievement.

The 280 kW system cost $488,932 to install. The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program contributed $244,466, the Alberta Municipal Solar Program put up $131,575, and $112,891 came from the town's environmental reserve.

The recreation facility is expected to see savings of approximately $15,000 per year on its energy bills, the town said in a release.

"Banff is leading the way in the Bow Valley and among Alberta municipalities in capturing solar power," the release said.

In addition to the new solar panel array on the recreation centre, there are solar-power systems at Banff Town Hall and two public washrooms.

The town also has a municipal solar rebate program that has helped more than 30 residents and businesses install more than 170 kW of solar generation capacity, the town says.

"Energy consumption is Banff's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Any investment we can make to reduce that is a positive step for our community and helps us realize our goals of being environmental stewards," said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen in a release.