Big Lakes County reaping solar rewards

The Big Lakes County Shop Solar Project is saving the County money after it was commissioned on Oct. 20, 2020 and producing power. The panels are located just north of the BLC Operations Centre.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County continues to save energy and power with its solar project that started in December 2020.
At its regular meeting Feb 9, council was updated about the project for the first full calendar year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.
“The solar farm produced a micro-generation credit of $21,390.89,” says Vic Abel, director of public works.
“This credit has paid for power consumption during this period and a credit of $15,429.63 remains on the County’s account.”
Big Lakes commissioned the project Oct, 20, 2020.
“Currently, the system is performing at about 11 per cent better than originally expected, reducing our break-even projection by one year,” Abel says.
“I can’t believe how much money we’re saving.”
He provides other facts about the benefits and savings.
The electricity bill for power in 2018 was $16,537.22.
At a 1.5 per cent inflation rate, the bill for power over the next 30 years is $631,206 for the BLC Operations Centre and the public works shop.
The expected solar savings is $631,607.
Solar panels will save the County $342,265 over the same period.
The compound annual growth rate is 2.93 per cent.
Cost of the project was $476,831, with $265,342 paid by a grant.
The project was funded in party by the Municipal Climate Action Centre [MCCAC], a partnership of the Alberta Urban Municipalities [AUMA] and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta [RMA].
Big Lakes was able to access more than 41 per cent of the funds through the Alberta Municipal Solar Program offered through the MCCAC.
Other funding was provided through the Federal Gas Tax Fund.
Over time, the credits that Big Lakes County receives for selling electricity back to the grid will more than pay for the cost of the panels themselves.

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