Central Saanich looking to the sun

Central Saanich is looking at taking steps to become a regional leader in solar energy.

In researching its solar power options

In researching its solar power options

The District of Central Saanich is looking at taking steps to become a regional leader in solar energy.

Last week the District heard from David Isaac of Wugadusk Group, who has done installation projects, most notably with the Nicola Valley First Nation.

Councillor Zeb King wants the District to look at working with Isaac to consider options to help Central Saanich become a regional leader in solar energy. In asking for a report on the topic, King said it could provide council with information on photovoltaic solar and solar hot water systems, physical installation projects with short and long-term options and policy changes.

“One of our goals is to reduce our climate pollution emission portfolio, and there’s a number of ways you can go about that,” said Mayor Ryan Windsor, adding some district’s have bought electric vehicles, for instance, and are focussed more on solar panels that produce electricity or a solar hot water system.

Council has discussed potential opportunities, some of which they’ve already done.

“We have a couple of these electric car charging stations. We have one at the Cultural Building (the library building in Brentwood Bay) and then we have one at our municipal hall,” said Windsor.

He said those are through grid connections currently that cross the BC Hydro lines, which people can charge their vehicles that way.

“There may be an opportunity for us, for instance, to add some solar panels to power those as one option,” he said.

The other option could be a bigger installation that King has experience with in his former hometown, Alert Bay. That particular area placed their solar system on one of their public works buildings and on their municipal hall. Windsor said that could be a bigger scale project for this district to consider.

Windsor said potential plans for the long term could include what’s been done in Alert Bay or Nicola Valley, where the District could do a large scale installation with a number of panels.

“The number that I recall from Nicola Valley was they did 300 panels. Alert Bay probably did about 100 or so,” said Windsor.

He said it would be a sizeable installation for Central Saanich and one that could help generate electricity that is clean and help reduce their overall carbon emissions, helping them meet their climate action goals.

For potential short term plans, one that comes to Windsor’s mind is solar hot water on top of the field house in Centennial Park.

“So potentially you could put on the roof the solar hot water and that would feed the hot water for the washrooms for instance, or you could add a couple of panels for one of the electric car charging stations and that would produce at least some of the electricity.”

Staff will now work with Isaac to at least put together an idea, which can then be debated futher at future council meetings.