Solar power projects given green light

An animal welfare group, a church, a utility and the Nova Scotia Community College have been approved for a provincial green-energy program.

NSCC, Halifax Water, Hope for Wildlife, Knox United Church approved for pilot program

Tom Gunn, principal of the Nova Scotia Community College's Strait area campus (left) and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. (Submitted by Nova Scotia Community College)

An animal welfare group, a church, a utility and the Nova Scotia Community College have been approved for a green-energy program, the provincial government announced Monday.

Solar Electricity for Community Buildings is a three-year pilot program that helps groups generate solar power that can be sold to their utility under a 20-year contract.

The Strait area campus of the NSCC, which submitted one of this year's approved applications, plans to install solar panels in a field next to its fire training centre. It will generate 75 kilowatts of solar power, which is the maximum amount permitted under the program.

"It's good for the electrical grid but it will also be good for students to collect data and observe it because it is certainly the way of the future," said Tom Gunn, principal of the Strait area campus in Port Hawkesbury.

He said students in the electrical program and the natural resources and environmental technology program will be especially interested.

The solar panels are part of the school's ongoing effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

"It will reduce our greenhouse gases by 192 tonnes per year," said Gunn.

The school also has a waste reduction program, has switched from oil to propane, and has changed its lighting to LED.

3 other groups announced

In Halifax, the Hope for Wildlife Society has been approved to install 30 kilowatts of solar electricity panels, Knox United Church has been approved for 38 kilowatts, and Halifax Water has been approved for 75 kilowatts.

In all, 27 applications have been approved from across the province this year. All applications were overseen by Clean Foundation, the independent procurement administrator.

If all projects are completed, Nova Scotia will add 1,617 kilowatts of renewable electricity to the grid, the government said. That is more than double last year's total. 

The average selling price this year for electricity generated through these projects is 25.4 cents per kilowatt hour. 

The program will be offered for one more year.

It is open to Mi'kmaq communities, registered non-profit or charitable organizations, municipalities or organizations owned by municipalities, universities or community colleges in Nova Scotia.

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About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith

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Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith was born and raised in Cape Breton. She began her career in private radio in Sydney and has been with CBC as a reporter, early morning news editor and sometimes host since 1990.