The City of Dawson Creek says it's taking the first steps to explore the possibility of adding solar panels to municipal facilities.
Mayor Dale Bumstead says the idea was sparked after he and CAO Blair Lekstrom took a tour of Hudson’s Hope’s municipal solar array, which remains the largest in B.C.
“They really took an aggressive approach toward building this renewable solar system for their community and a number of community facilities,” said Bumstead. “I was always interested in it, I thought it was a really unique way of looking at the impact of operating costs for your municipality in the long term.”
Bumstead says he’s been following the project since it began and is interested in the potential to offset operating costs for his city.
"I think there's opportunities for us and now it's just a question of let's put the business case together to see if it's viable and worthwhile, and can we make that advantageous for our community," said Bumstead.
He reached out to Mayor Dave Heiberg for a tour this past September, getting a sense of what could be possible in Mile Zero.
“It was really interesting to me to see the operations. For us as a community, we have lots of large roofs on our city facilities, so if we could find a way to offset some of that initial capital cost of installing them, we could really have a major benefit to our operating costs. We should look at that,” Bumstead said.
Hudson’s Hope cut the ribbon on their 500 kw solar array three years ago, with 1,550 panels installed on nine grid-tie facilities. A 10 kw solar wave was installed at the local pool as the final touch for the project.
Heiberg said he was more than happy to invite the neighbouring municipality out.
“It was a really good day. They’re very interested in what we have and how it works,” said Heiberg. “The energy savings we have are substantial, and on the green energy side with greenhouse gases, I think it’s something all municipalities should look into.”
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News