By December 28, 2017 Read More →

British Columbia invests in solar-powered Zamboni, community-owned clean energy projects


Funding available for B.C. clean energy community projects Photo: Enmax

Program allowed a community to retrofit a Zamboni with solar power and battery instead of propane

The Province of British Columbia is investing in local governments and First Nations projects that will lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lead to more affordable and sustainable community infrastructure, according to a press release.

One of the projects receiving funding is a solar-powered Zamboni ice resurfacer at the Chilton Regional Arena in the Regional District of Mount Waddington.

This unique project funds the Zamboni’s conversion from propane power to solar-charged/lithium-ion-battery electric. The upgrade in technology is estimated to save about $9,000-per-year in operating costs.

“From renewable energy projects in remote First Nations communities, to energy efficiency retrofits in public buildings and a solar-powered Zamboni, these innovative projects will reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Michelle Mungall, minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources.

Four additional communities throughout British Columbia are receiving funding for projects. These include energy efficiency retrofits to community-owned facilities in the District of Clearwater and the Township of Langley, a run-of-river hydro project in Wuikinuxv Nation, and a solar-energy system in Xeni Gwet’in First Nations.

“By promoting conservation, we are also creating good jobs and encouraging economic activity that will benefit communities throughout the province,” said Mungall.

The total funding for the projects is $620,000, with $482,000 coming from the Community Energy Leadership Program (CELP) and $138,000 coming from the Remote Community Implementation (RCI) Program.

CELP contributions for 2017-18 range from $30,000 to $160,000 per project. Applicants are required to cover a minimum of 5 per cent of total project costs and secure alternate sources of funding as needed.

“The Zamboni project was first proposed to the arena committee as just a conversion to replace the existing 20-year-old unit,” said Andrew Hory, chair, Regional District of Mount Waddington.

The 19 projects that have received funding from CELP will result in annual greenhouse emissions reductions of over 4,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking 850 passenger vehicles off the road each year, according to the B.C. government.

“However, by fundraising with corporate and private partners and with provincial support, we were able to come up with this innovative machine which saves us money and will help bring our arena service to operational carbon neutral in 2018,” said Hory.

Funding for CELP comes from the B.C. Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, designed to support the Province’s energy, economic, environmental and greenhouse gas reduction priorities and advance B.C.’s clean energy sector.

The RCI Program has helped B.C.’s remote communities in reducing their dependence on diesel generation by funding capital costs of implementation or construction of clean energy systems, such as hydro, wind and solar energy.

Support for these projects is aligned with the government’s commitment to re-invigorate the ICE Fund to boost investments in ground-breaking new energy technologies, climate change solutions and community-focused energy projects — especially projects that drive development in rural, northern and First Nations communities.

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