Solar Energy Co-operative Being Established in Northumberland, Ontario
Solar energy sites mapped in Northumberland
NORTHUMBERLAND – The Northumberland Community Power Association (soon to be an incorporated co-operative) has signed a memorandum of understanding on two potential sites in Northumberland to develop solar community power, says Association member Rich Tyssen.
“We’ve looked at about 40 sites,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
The next phase, once the updated provincial green energy Feed-in-Tariff (FIT 2.0) rules are released, will be engineering for feasibility studies. From there, the process would be an option to lease the site(s) and to apply to the Ontario Power Authority and sign a lease, he said.
Since last November’s public information meeting held in the Northumberland County Council chamber, about 20 county residents from four of the seven municipalities in the county, have met regularly to develop the co-operative to create community power with community investment, he said.
The next meeting, open to anyone who is interested, is Saturday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 600 William Street, Cobourg (Northumberland County).
“Debate over land-use, energy prices and the impact of renewable energy have been a challenge for Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act and the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program. But with a recent Energy Minister Directive, new FIT rules will contain explicit provisions for co-ops and First Nations that are developing renewable energy projects, with the goal of greater citizen support through community participation, ownership and profit-sharing,” states a media release from the Association.
The local county association recently joined the Ontario Community Power Co-operatives to be able to act under a single umbrella and share resources.
Here in Northumberland, the Association will offer county residents the chance to invest in local solar projects on both commercial and industrial buildings. An information meeting will be held this fall, although a time and place are not yet scheduled.
“Our objective is not only to develop power projects in Northumberland County, but to gather investment from our local community and then to re-invest our profits in our local community,” states Tyssen in the release. “This is one of the ways that we will build a new green economy.”