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Sturgeon County ponders solar

Sturgeon County is looking into provincial grants that could see it cover its main fire hall with solar panels.
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Sturgeon County is looking into provincial grants that could see it cover its main fire hall with solar panels.

Council agreed Tuesday to put out a request for proposals to install solar panels on county buildings and to look into Municipal Climate Change Action Centre grants for them.

The action centre is a partnership between the province, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta that provides cash and technical assistance to schools, non-profits and municipalities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It offers a 55 to 90 cent per watt rebate to municipalities that install solar panels, with an additional 25 cent per watt rebate for first-time applicants.

Sturgeon County does not have any solar panels or wind turbines on its buildings, said Scott MacDougall, the county’s general manager of municipal services.

He told council renewable power could help the county reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

“The operating costs are extremely low and the fuel is essentially free,” he said, which would guard against future spikes in fuel cost.

MacDougall said the county could put about 50 kilowatts of solar on its fleet shop and 120 kilowatts on its fire and protective services building, which would make both net exporters of electricity that could be sold back to the grid. The fire hall could qualify for a roughly $97,000 rebate.

MacDougall said these projects typically pay for themselves in 10 to 20 years.




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