Solar project 1 step closer to reality

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A proposed solar project at the Peace River Airport is still in the running for a major grant.

The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and Alberta Innovates are offering a grant for communities to install large alternative energy projects.

The Airport Cooperative Energy Project [ACEP] has received official notice the Peace River project has been accepted into the final stage of the grant application process. The full project proposal will now be submitted for consideration for a decision later in the year.

The proposed 1.6 megawatt project will cost about $4 million. The successful grant applicant will have 75 per cent of their project costs covered.

The Peace Solar Cooperative group in Peace River announced the news on social media and thanked Peace Solar Energy out of Dawson Creek and the Alberta Cooperative Association for their mentorship through the process of working toward creation of a local solar cooperative and planning the airport solar project.

Peace Solar Energy out of Dawson Creek will be consulting on the project as the final proposal is completed, while the Alberta Cooperative Association has invited two members of the Peace River group to attend a project incubator workshop with experts who can help get the project planning underway.

Wanda Laurin, who has been helping spearhead the project and will be attending the project incubator training, says she is optimistic all of the support means a solar project will be coming to the Peace region one way or another.

“We will be meeting again on Oct. 15 to found our board and decide on our bylaws,” Laurin says.

The committee working on putting together the co-op believes it may be able to raise the 25 per cent of costs not covered in the potential grant through the sale of shares, and later from income from selling electricity back into the power grid.

Bylaws for the cooperative will likely be very similar to the bylaws of the existing BC solar cooperative, and Laurin says Peace Solar Energy has so many members, the cooperative is talking about possibly still investing in the area whether or not the grant application is successful.

While to date the project has been brought forward largely by the Town of Peace River, the future management of the airport itself is up in the air as the Town of Peace River reviews requests for proposal for running the regional transportation hub.

However, when asked if that will affect the project, Laurin says, “We don’t think so.”

She says the land is still owned by the Town and the infrastructure itself is not going anywhere even if it is eventually managed differently.

For more information or to get involved, visit Peace Solar Cooperative on Facebook.

Share this post