Perth exploring solar power generation feasibility study

October 6, 2017 by

Lake News Logo 01 Square SmallIn keeping with its environmental conscience, the Town of Perth is exploring a net metering feasibility study.

About a month ago, the town met with members of Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop (OREC), an investment company specializing in renewable energy.

Their proposal to the town was to install solar panels on any suitable municipal, industrial or commercial rooftops throughout the town, at no cost to the town.

The group raises funds through their investors and the municipality purchases energy from it’s own rooftops.  Meanwhile OREC sets the price of the energy generated from the solar panels at the same rate as Hydro One, but then guarantees the annual increase at 2 percent or the rate of inflation over a 20-year period.

“So the saving to the municipality is the difference between the grid and our guaranteed price,” explained Janice Ashworth, general manager at OREC, adding that Hydro One prices have been rising at the rate of about nine per cent a year.

The overall concept sparked interest at town hall, and staff are proposing to explore the possibility and identify companies that can offer this type of energy alternative.

“At this stage we’re looking at some of our roofs to see if we have the space for solar panels. Right now we see potential in the Public Works garage,” said CAO John De Rosenroll, who authored a report to council proposing the feasibility.

In the meantime the Mayor will be meeting with local industrial, commercial and institutional building owners including Algonquin College later this month to see if they’d be interested in the net metering concept.

Besides clean energy and tangible savings there are other benefits to net metering. “If we came into the town of Perth and were investing $1 million we would encourage Perth residents to invest, so instead of paying Hydro One, the town could be paying its own resident investors,” Ashworth told Lake 88 News.

At the same time, the town could at any time during that 20-year period, buy out the investment co and become the sole owner of the solar panels.

At this stage however, DeRosenroll says the town is just exploring the possibility of net metering and identifying possible providers like OREC before releasing an RFP for net metering.