June 17th, 2024

Coalhurst solar project tackles greenhouse gas emissions

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 21, 2023.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Coalhurst mayor Lyndsay Montina, along with other town officials, opens the new solar array last week along Range Road 223.

The town of Coalhurst held an official opening for its new solar PV ground mount system on Wednesday at the town’s sewage lagoon site along range road 223.

The project was completed last fall, operational on October 24 and was constructed by miEnergy for $155,282, with 41 per cent of the total covered from funding through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) program.

The system includes 144 solar panels and one inverter, and is expected to operate for more than 25 years.

“This is something that we have been talking about for a while, and to be here today, launching this officially, is really exciting,” said Coalhurst mayor Lyndsay Montina. “This is something that our previous counsel had started, and to see this come to fruition is exciting.”

The system will offset around 53.58 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and will expect a nine-year payback period with its annual electrical cost savings and rebate.

“Coalhurst contacted us to hep with an RFP to produce a design-build for the panel system. They were looking for a way to offset their power use, and they tried to amalgamate all of their loads in all of their town buildings to offset it entirely. We went through the process, and they tender this out for 165-kilowatts, but due to restrictions from Fortis on the grid, they can only offset the feeder that they are connect to in this area,” said Peter Goertzen, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer for MPE.

“This area, the lift station, was their biggest load, and they have the area to install as many panels as they would need.”

Other communities making the switch to solar have seen great results, with the Town of Raymond and the Village of Stirling reaching net zero.

“The sustainability component for our community moving forward is excellent. We are happy to be able to continue to do this and look for sustainable ways to build the community and support ourselves,” said Montina.

“One of our goals with our strategic plan is looking at sustainability in term of solar, but also in terms of the way we operate. This is important for us in our community, and in how we want to move forward as a collective.”

Making the switch to solar, Coalhurst is soaking in the benefits as it looks to how it can gain more for its residents.

“We are continually looking to see what is out there. Looking at different programs and always evaluating what is coming forward to us that we can continue down this path and keep on going with this whole initiative,” said Montina

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