The First United Church has installed 30 solar panels on its roof through a partnership with a local non-profit and a Salmon Arm-based company.
On Saturday, June 22, Joost de Bruijn could be seen using a hydraulic lift to move solar panels from the parking lot of the First United Church and onto the steep sloping roof where he and another worker would install them.
Bruijn is the founder of A+ Solar Solutions, a Canadian company that provides a variety of services relating to solar power including their installation.
The 30 panels Bruijn installed are expected to produce 12 kilowatt hours, approximately 37 per cent of the annual consumption of the First United Church.
The project has been a long time in the making.
“It’s a really good community project we started roughly a year and a half ago and now it’s finally finished. We were lucky to win the proposal; they chose my company which is just great,” Bruijn said.
The project came from a community based initiative by First United Church called Green Space. The initiative seeks to partner with non-profit groups and try to help them work in the community. One of those groups the church partnered with is the Shuswap Solar Energy Society.
“They wanted to put in a community solar array that would be a teaching tool for the wider community,” said Jenny Carter, minister of the First United Church. “We said we would like to promote that as well so they have put their community solar array on our building and we will help educate the public.”
The solar array serves as a classroom of sorts to those who want to learn more about how solar energy is produced, stored and used.
“It’s a partnering relationship that’s good for the environment and good for the community, and it’s a public installation that we are happy to show anybody who’s interested,” Carter said.
The church is looking into other ways to make the building fully carbon neutral, like eliminating single use plastics and a compost system.