Solar project may go ahead without grant

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A proposed Peace River airport solar project has been denied grant funding.

The solar farm planned by the Peace Energy Renewable Energy Cooperative and supported by the Town of Peace River made it to the final round of the application process for the Municipal Community Generation grant before being denied.

The successful grant recipient will receive funding for 75 per cent of their project from the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre [MCCAC] and Alberta Innovates.

The grant proposal for the Peace River airport project outlined a plan to build 7,000 solar panels which would be able to power 350 homes.

The Town of Peace River received a letter April 2 from MCCAC and Alberta Innovates that the proposal was not selected for funding. Council discussed the implications of the letter for the project at their governance and priorities meeting on April 6.

Even without the grant, town councillors say the project may still be built.

“We have crunched the numbers and are moving forward regardless,” confirms Jenn Wright- Ford, solar ambassador for the cooperative.

The proposed project was originally going to cost $4 million, but solar coop consultant Greg Dueck has said in the past that the project can be scaled down as needed and the capital may be raised directly from members.

“We were disappointed to hear just this month that our grant application was not successful,” says executive director Don Pettit in the coop’s most recent newsletter.

“However, thanks to going through this grant application process, we now have most of the details worked out to possibly create the solar farm on our own. Certainly, there is keen interest in the Peace River area and among our membership to build this or a similar project as soon as possible.”

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