At Lumsden’s River Park, people playing at the splash pad or tak- ing in a ball game will no longer be the only ones soaking up the sun. Newly installed solar panels on the River Park Centre roof will also be taking in the rays, helping to power the centre and reducing power costs for the town.
A 10 kW solar system has been in- stalled at the centre by Sunroof En- ergy Corp. Operation of the system began last week.
“It’s a lot of satisfaction, a lot of pride in our community, stepping up and being on the forefront of [renewable energy] for our community” said Lumsden Mayor Bryan Matheson. “I think it’s the wave of the future and we’re happy to have this happen in Lumsden.” The 10kW solar system is expected to generate around 15,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, approximately 54 per cent of the centre’s yearly electricity usage.
Solar panels were installed as part of Sunroof Energy’s Municipal Solar Energy Program. Through the pro- gram, Sunroof provides, installs and maintains the solar system, with the town simply purchasing the produced solar energy.
“[The Municipal Solar Energy Pro- gram] allows municipalities to put solar power on municipally owned buildings without having to come up with any capital,” said Al Simp- son, president of Sunroof Energy Corp. “So the citizens of Lumsden aren’t going to be asked to pay for this. All that’s really required, in this particular case, is the rec. centre solar system will produce solar en-ergy and whatever it produces, the town will pay for at a rate cheaper than they are paying now to Sask- Power.”
Savings in electrical expenses at the River Park Centre are expected to be approximately $21,000 over the lifetime of the solar system. “That’s not insignificant,” said Simpson.
The Sunroof Energy president was unable to disclose information about other municipalities participating in the program, but did say there has been an extreme amount of interest. “We’re excited about it,” he said. The president congratulated the town on having a vision for the future and going forward with a renewable energy system. Matheson explained the River Park Centre project is the first of many, with the town planning to introduce solar energy into other community buildings in the future.
Solar panels adorn the roof of the River Park Centre in Lumsden. The panels, installed by Sunroof Energy Corp., are expected to generate around 15,000-kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, 54 per cent of the River Park Centre’s yearly electricity usage. The panels were turned on last week. Photo by Sarah MacMillan.