MODG receives funding for solar energy projects

GUYSBOROUGH – Residents of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) have one more reason to welcome sunny days ahead. On Feb. 14, federal, provincial and municipal levels of government announced more than $1,098,477 in joint funding for the installation of solar panels on municipal buildings in the MODG.

A federal news release (Feb.14) stated that the funding, through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program, “will support the installation of six solar energy systems totaling 266 kilowatts on two libraries, two recreation centres, the main municipal office, and a water treatment plant. The solar energy created will supply 50 percent of the total electricity load for these spaces.”

The project, and others like it, will help the province meet its coal-free energy mix target for 2030 and create savings for the municipality, which can be redirected to other initiatives and programs.

Tory Rushton, provincial minister of natural resources and renewables told The Journal last week, “We’re certainly, in Nova Scotia, very proud that we’re leaders in our climate change plan and we made an ambitious target to get off coal by 2030. There isn’t going to be one solution – there’s going to be multiple pieces to the puzzle, if you will, and solar is going to be a piece of that puzzle. We’re encouraged to hear 50 per cent of the useable electricity is going to be coming from solar on this project.”

Asked about the contribution rural municipalities are making to the green energy transition, Rushton said, “This is a huge step for a rural municipality. As we move into the green technology of generating our electricity, rural municipalities of Nova Scotia have taken a big step and have taken a huge interest in, ‘What can we do in our local municipalities to foster some of the initiatives the government has set aside.’ And it is because of the rural municipalities in Nova Scotia and Guysborough for example, it’s because of these municipalities that we are leaders in our country in combating climate change because of the initiatives that they are taking.”

MODG Warden Vernon Pitts said the municipality has been working to increase the use of renewable energy over the past decade, as evidenced by investments in solar and wind power, as well as the purchase electric and hybrid vehicles for municipal use.

Pitts said the funding was welcome and would reduce operational costs and emissions at the buildings in the project. He added, “Thankfully, we’ve had the province as well as the federal government step up and partner on some of these initiatives, which is great. It’s good for all of us. We’re all on the same rock so let’s do our part to ensure that we have a future…our children can take advantage of for generations to come.”

In the federal press release announcing the funding, Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway – whose riding includes the MODG – commented, “Our government recognizes the importance of investing in green and energy efficient infrastructure. Through this solar energy project, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough will make strides in Canada’s transition to clean and innovative energy solutions. We will continue working with our partners to foster greener, more resilient communities, where residents can thrive.”

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal