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Watts Happening?

#115
by Don Pettit
for Peace Energy Renewable Energy Cooperative
www.peaceenergy.ca ph 250-782-3882

UPDATE:
the Hudsons Hope Solar Project

The District of Hudsons Hope is beginning to look very much like a twenty-first century solar community. The
District Office has a 53 kW solar array that will supply about 80% of its power, and behind it the Bullhead
Mountain Curling Club will be 100% solar powered with its 72 kW solar array.

T
he District of Hudsons a real, honest to goodness, twenty- (350 kW = 350,000 watts. For
Hope is going solar, big first century solar community. comparison, a normal household
time. The focus through the solar array is about 5,000 to 10,000
Theyve embarked upon one of summer has been to get all the watts). In addition there will also
the most ambitious solar energy outdoor work done by installing be one large 122 kW array at the
projects in the province, and as you some 1580 solar panels. All of Hudsons Hope sewage treatment
drive around town now (as I did the largest roof-top arrays are facility. This will be a rack-
this past weekend) its beginning now in place (and they are big!) mounted ground array some 600
to show its starting to look like now totaling some 350 kilowatts feet long!
Next, crews of electricians will be connecting from the grid inevitably increases. Estimating a
the solar arrays to each buildings electrical conservative 2.5% increase in the grid rate each year,
service,through a series of powerful inverters that the District will save about $3 million over the next
will feed solar electricity into the building and excess 30 years.
power into the grid. All of the solar arrays should be
operational by the end of the year. LOCAL PEOPLE, LOCAL BENEFITS
The solar power systems in Hudsons Hope
are grid-tied through BC Hydros net metering Your very own Peace Energy Renewable Energy
program, meaning the solar electricity they generate Cooperative in a Joint Venture with Moch Electric
powers the building first, then feeds excess power Ltd., (both based in Dawson Creek) was chosen to
into the grid. This excess power is recorded as a design, supply and install the solar arrays.
credit on that electrical account, and can be used later Last year the District of Hudsons Hope
by the building when it needs it, successfully applied for and
say at night or in the winter. received a $1.35 million grant
This works particularly from the Strategic Priorities

The very rapid


well in the north, where we often Fund/Federal Gas Tax Fund
produce much more power than through the Union of BC

shift to solar
we can use during the long days of Municipalities. Peace Energy
our sunny summers, which gives Co-op then provided the

energy occurring
us a big credit to use up during the initial system designs, and
short days of winter. eventually won the province-

WHY SOLAR? around the world wide competitive bid to supply


and install the solar arrays.

With no moving parts and is not driven by Also, seven Hudsons


Hope high school students
sunlight for fuel, solar arrays are
extremely low maintenance and concern for the were hired by Moch Electric
Ltd. for the summer. They
cost essentially nothing to run.
This is part of our on- environment. It is not only received fall-arrest
safety training, they acquired
going economic development
plan that will reduce our operating being driven by valuable solar installation
experience and were an
costs over the long term and
provide opportunities for local economics. important part in an historic
renewable energy project.
residents in the rapidly expanding They were some of
solar industry, explains Gwen the best employees I have
Johansson, Mayor of the District of Hudsons Hope. ever had, said Ron Moch, site supervisor. Willing,
You see, all the power these solar arrays interested, hard working and smart.
generate is power the District of Hudsons Hope does The very rapid shift to solar energy occurring
not have to pay for. And thats a lot of electricity. around the world is not being driven by concern for the
Some of the solar-equipped buildings will be environment (though solar energy is certainly clean
100% solar powered, others will see a percentage of and green energy). It is being driven by economics.
their electrical use replaced with solar in the 50% Solar power makes economic sense now.
to 80% range. Overall, the nine solar locations will Hudsons Hope is proving that we can have a
reduce their electrical bills by an average of 61%. cleaner environment, local jobs, abundant renewable
This will save the District about $71,000 a energy. . . and save money too.
year, increasing over time as the cost of electricity