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Housing Co-operative Installs Solar Panels in Ottawa, ON

Housing co-op installs solar panels

  • Eddie Rwema
  • |
  • Aug 27, 2012 – 12:18 PM

Housing co-op installs solar panels. Nathalie Coté-Chartrand, manager with McLean Co-operative Homes at the launch of new solar panels that have started generating revenue for the co-operative. Eddie Rwema/Metroland

A south Ottawa housing co-op is turning the sun into a big economic asset for itself and the community 

McLean Co-operative Home in Blossom Park, celebrated the installation of 11-kilowatt new solar panels on the roof of the four-storey building during a ceremony on Aug. 23.
Since the installation of the panels a month and a half ago, the co-operative said they have already started to generate revenue from the project.
“We have generated about $2,500 of revenue in less than two months,” said Nathalie Coté-Chartrand, co-opmanager.
The project is part of the Ontario Power Authority’s FIT (feed-in tariff) program that allows local co-operatives, private businesses, as well as land and home owners, to generate solar electricity and feed it back into the power grid for a fee. The microFIT program is for projects 10 kilowatts or smaller.
The co-op is hoping to generate at least $120,000 for their reserve fund over the next 20 years.
“This the first time our co-op is able to generate revenue other than raising housing charges,” said Coté-Chartrand, adding that the project provides them with means, which will make them more autonomous.
Under the feed-in tariff program, homeowners are paid a guaranteed price for all the electricity they produce and feed-in back into the electricity grid.
Ottawa-Orleans MPP Phil McNeely, who was representing Premier Dalton McGuinty at the event, said the $87,000 project was the right way to go and hailed the McLean Co-op for showing leadership.
“This is certainly a milestone for this co-op to be able to do this and we hope it is going to set an example for all other co-ops,” he said.
McNeely praised the Ontario government for working hard towards eliminating coal as a source of power in the province, insisting that green energy is so important to “our province.”
“We made a great decision to get out of coal. We were producing 25 per cent of our energy with dirty coal, which was causing health problems in major cities of the province. It is certainly a dangerous area for environment, as we know it,” said McNeely.
“You have shown that we can harness the sun and replace a lot of the bad energy that we have.”
Ottawa South MP David McGuinty pointed an accusing finger at the federal Conservatives for not being interested in pursuing renewable power projects like the one inaugurated in his Ottawa South riding.
“This is a fabulous demonstration project that I hope is imitated in our city, province and country,” said McGuinty.
“For me it is encouraging and I just hope it happened 10 years ago.”
McGuinty said the Harper government has eliminated all the incentives that existed prior to their arrival in 2006.
“I am very disappointed in Harper’s conduct,” he said.
He stressed that renewable power is where “we should all be at.”
McGuinty said the project will average about $1,000 a month in revenue and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is more than simple making money and reducing greenhouse gases – it is about doing the right things so that we can get the right trajectory going forward, while we grow our economy,” said McGuinty.
“In my view every co-op, apartment building, commercial building, and every home in Canada should become energy generating stations.”
For Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, the project is a great addition to the neighbourhood.
“It is wonderful to see communities such as McLean Co-operative making sustainable changes. It is very forward looking,” said Deans.
Source: Your Ottawa Region (http://www.yourottawaregion.com/news/article/1492516–housing-co-op-installs-solar-panels)

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