Alberta town aims to be first in Canada to rely solely on solar panels
Raymond's $2.9M investment will help municipality achieve net zero status
A small town in southern Alberta plans to power itself using only solar panels — believed to be a first in Canada.
The Town of Raymond is in the process of installing about 2,700 solar panels on top of all of its municipal buildings.
"Every time it's a sunny day, we just get a smile down here because that's what's going to help us meet our goal of becoming net zero," said Greg Robinson, director of community and economic development for the town.
Located 40 kilometres south of Lethbridge, Raymond is home to about 4,200 people.
So far, Calgary-based utility Enmax has helped install panels on nine of the town's facilities, including its firehall, ice arena, golf course and water treatment plant.
Once they're all up, solar energy will cover all of the municipal government's energy needs — from running buildings to lighting streets, Robinson said.
The project's price tag is $2.8 million, funded in part by a grant from Alberta's Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.
The previous NDP government contributed about $643,000 through the action centre to the project, which got underway after the municipality's elections in 2017.
Robinson said that from a financial standpoint, the project makes sense both in the short-term and long-term.
The town has been footing an electrical bill to run its buildings and street lights for well over 100 years — and without any return — so he said the day-to-day financial situation won't change much. And now, they'll be working toward paying off what he calls "an end date."
Raymond's lease to own all of their solar panels will be paid off in 15 years, Robinson said.
"That is when the big money will start rolling in for Raymond because we're going to be able to generate and sell that electricity right back into the system."
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Maggie Macintosh ·