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Energetic Solutions Centre

Start Date: Apr 01, 2003
Country: Canada
Key Contact(s):

Nikki Skuce

Tricia Kapaleri


Project Description

Through a Green Building grant from the VanCity/Realestate Foundation, One Sky was successfully able to install a net-metered photovoltaic system on our office building with the help of Energy Alternatives and a local electrician. We did this by including community members in a hands-on workshop that had 16 participants. The installation took place in two days with more in-depth training to one of our staff members who has an engineering background. Since the installation, One Sky staff have watched our BC Hydro meter go backwards and have had an increase in the number of walk-in inquiries curious about the visible panels on the roof. It is still early to determine the overall production and effectiveness of our panels given the installation in late August and a long winter; however we’re looking forward to concluding results at the year anniversary.

We completed a case study on our net-meter system that includes the rationale, process, costs, and conclusions of other policies needed to further incent homeowners and  businesses to install grid-intertied systems. At the same time, having a net-metered system installed provides us with more credibility when advocating for these needed policy changes at the provincial and national levels. In addition, our youth intern conducted interviews with 4 home owners in the Bulkley Valley with various renewable energy systems installed. These two-pager case studies fill a gap of missing local information on northern examples of installed renewables.

In promoting renewable energy, we always stress the need to improve efficiency first. Through assistance from this grant, One Sky installed a certified fuel-efficient wood stove in our office to off-set our GHG emissions from the natural gas furnace. Our resource centre filled with energy-related resources has been well-used this winter partly as a result of the warm, welcoming atmosphere in being by the fire.

We are currently partnered with the Town of Smithers through a provincial program to promote energy efficiency and be a one-stop shop on incentive and grant programs. We have been receiving several inquiries and drop-ins. The case studies will now provide valuable additional resources for homeowners looking to renewables.

While BC gets 88% of its electricity from large-scale hydro which produces few greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), the remainder is imported from Alberta’s coal and natural gas fired power generation. Additional power through renewable energy to the transmission lines means the need for fewer imports of dirty, high GHG intensity electricity. While our PV system is relatively small (1.2 kW), it is generating clean, green energy for both our use and to the general grid. By having our system installed in a highly visible location, we’ve also managed to generate increased awareness and education to promote net-metering to other Smithers’ residents.