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Alberta pushing for solar panels on 36 new schools


October 27, 2016
By Renée Francoeur


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October 27, 2016 – The Alberta government is making funding available for the installation of solar panels at 36 school projects that are now in the planning or design phase and have not gone to tender.

“A number of school boards had already been asking about the possibility of installing these panels and we are pleased to be able to partner with them to invest in our public infrastructure,’ said David Eggen, the provincial minister of Education.

The total investment in these voluntary installations will be at least $9 million, the province says, noting it will also establish a committee to evaluate the impact of the installations, with a goal of expanding the program over time.

The province will also provide funds to enable schools installing solar systems to add an educational component to the installation and operation by, for example, letting students use an app to follow power generated by solar.

As a next step, Alberta Education says it will be contacting school authorities to discuss modifying the scope of their projects to incorporate the panels. This week, both Eggen and Shannon Phillips, the minister responsible for the climate change office, visited Sir John A. Macdonald School in Calgary, where there are already 40 panels on the roof.

Costs would vary by project, but estimates average approximately $250,000 to $750,000 per school for a solar panel array, Alberta Education says, depending on size of school, size of array installed and local site conditions.

“There is no location better than on the roofs of our schools in the centre of our communities for local solar electricity generation,” said John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA). “The energy does not travel far before it meets an energy need, making our electricity system more efficient. More importantly, showcasing this modern approach to managing our energy needs so close to where our children spend much of their day inspires them, develops their interest in science and in the environment”.

For a list of eligible school projects, click HERE.