Salmon Arm Art Gallery

Salmon Arm Arts Centre top contender for solar demonstration site

City council to decide on which site, scope of project at Aug. 12 meeting

The Salmon Arm Arts Centre may be the best site of three for demonstrating solar power.

In January, the city hired Riverside Energy Ltd. to evaluate the solar electricity potential for the arts centre, city hall and Fire Hall no. 3. It also examined the feasibility of a 4 – 10 kWp (or kilowatt peak of a system) demonstration installation, or an ‘ultimate build-out’ solar power system.

The consultant’s report notes that city hall, as the newest building, has existing electrical system capacity and the most unobstructed roof area. Fire Hall no. 3 and the arts centre are limited in size, but could provide a better return on investment given BC Hydro rates.

Read more: City to investigate solar power potential of three municipal buildings

Read more: Church welcomes solar power as educational opportunity

The initial cost estimate for the full build out of the arts centre would be the most of the three at $62,880, but would also result in a 100 per cent or net zero electricity consumption reduction. (Net-zero buildings are equipped with photovoltaic systems that allow them to capture and utilize renewable solar energy so they need not rely on non-renewable sources of power.)

Coun. Chad Eliason wondered about the possibility of doing the entire project using 2019 and 2020 funds rather than just the demonstration project.

Because the discussions were taking place at the Aug. 6 planning and development services meeting, council won’t be voting on how to move forward until the Monday, Aug. 12 council meeting.

Mayor Alan Harrison said perhaps Eliason will have an amendment coming forward to that meeting.

Coun. Tim Lavery said Eliason had brought up an interesting point but he is currently leaning towards the demonstration project. He said more funds may be needed, pointing out that the consultant mentions having patio shade structures or covered parking structures which would be effective for demonstration purposes but would push up costs.

Read more: Summerland solar power project will provide electricity

Read more: Lighthouses on B.C. coast converting to renewable energy

The consultants note that the arts centre has been designated as a municipal heritage site since 1992 and a resolution by council, at a minimum, would be required for any exterior alterations.

Harrison asked if the heritage commission has looked at the proposal and was told no, but it must go through the commission.

He said he’s in favour of the demonstration project and thanked Lavery for keeping it moving forward.

“I think the location is excellent,” he said, referring to its visibility.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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