Province provides funding for solar project

B.C. Rural Dividend Program provides $100,000 grant for solar initiative

The municipality of Summerland has received $100,000 in grant funding from the province for its integrated solar project.

The money comes through the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund, which supports projects for rural communities with populations of 25,000 or less.

Summerland applied for the funding under the Business Sector Development Category.

The purpose of the solar project is to strengthen the municipality’s electrical utility.

The funding announcement came late on Monday.

“Originally, Summerland was not on the list,” said Mayor Peter Waterman.

He said the project is an opportunity for the community to diversify its electrical utility.

“This support will allow the district to undertake technical feasibility studies for a large scale solar array,” Waterman said.

The studies will include site assessments, engineering reports and business plan modelling, as well as technical training and infrastructure upgrades for the electrical utility.

Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said the funding will be used for the necessary studies and for upgrades to the electrical infrastructure, in order to accommodate solar electricity generation.

She expects to see the municipality generate its own solar power to supplement the electricity purchased by the community.

“One way or another, we’re expecting to do it in the relatively short term,” she said.

Summerland has already been examining solar energy as a power source.

In February, the municipality held a solar conversation event to discuss routes the community can take to implement a large solar array into the electrical utility.

Summerland is one of five B.C. communities which owns its electrical utility.

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