Stirling’s Ridge Utilities partners with solar developer

·2 min read

Southern Alberta is one of the most sunny locations in Canada, and with all that sun comes a power that can be harnessed and put to work for those soaking up the sunshine. Many municipalities in the area are turning to solar power as a renewable energy that can save the planet and save their pocket book by using it to power large facilities like civic centres and town halls. There has also been an increase in micro-generation by homeowners and small businesses in Alberta who use small-scale production of electricity to produce power for their own needs.

In 2020 the Village of Stirling began their own utility marketing company called Ridge Utilities as part of a community sustainability initiative. In late January, Ridge Utilities announced that they are partnering with Greeenbriar Capital Corporation who will “design, finance, build, own and operate multiple micro-generation facilities and maintain and manage the operation for at least 20 years.” These micro-generators will then sign on with Ridge Utilities in order to get the benefit of exclusive solar club electricity rates because of their bi-directional cumulative meter. Bi-directional means that excess energy that micro-generators produce and don’t use is sent to the electrical power grid for other customers to use. The home or business owner can then receive credits for the excess electricity sent to the electrical power grid. Ridge utility customers who are solar club members can earn five per cent cash back on all energy imported from the grid on an annual basis.

Greenbriar will start design and site preparation within 30 days at the first site, which has yet to be announced. They have done large scale solar projects but are focusing now on micro generation clients. Because micro-generation often produces slightly more than what is consumed, the cash back will offset their consumption costs and home owners or business owners can become net zero, like Stirling has done.

Ridge Utilities has recently signed on the Town of Raymond to become a marketing associate. This means that Raymond will attempt to acquire customers and get a percentage of the total company profits. Also, the more customers Raymond signs up in their own municipality, the greater a portion of the community sustainability fund will be returned to them for local projects once the fund is ready to grant. Stirling and Raymond were in a neck and neck competition to become the first net-zero community in Alberta in 2019 and now will be working together to get their citizens and business owners following suit.

Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star