Solar panels turning village meters in the right direction

Solar panels are up and working on the roofs of five public buildings in Masset, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, and Port Clements.

Solar panels are up and working on the roofs of five public buildings in Masset, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, and Port Clements.

Funded entirely by provincial grants, the $600,000 project will generate an average of 154,500 kilowatts per year roughly the same amount needed to power 12 or 13 homes.

Speaking to Masset councillors on Oct. 11, Chief Administrative Officer Trevor Jarvis said the solar contractor, Terratek Energy of Penticton, was well ahead of schedule in installing panels on the Masset airport and public works buildings.

“They’re both working well,” said Jarvis.

“They plugged the meter back in today, and it ran backwards right from the time they plugged it in.”

The two Masset arrays are expected to save about 65 per cent of the electricity needed for both buildings.

In Port Clements, the new solar panels will generate about 45 per cent of the annual power needs for the Multiplex.

For the village office in Queen Charlotte, the panels will cover about 80 per cent of power needs, and for the largest installation an array that covers half the roof of Skidegate’s George Brown Recreation Centre the panels should provide nearly 100 per cent of the needed electricity.

Looking over a report on the solar panels installation, which actually began in 2012 as a project to switch Haida Gwaii streetlights to LEDs before complications arose at BC Hydro, Queen Charlotte Councillor Ellen Foster said it was great to see such a large project funded entirely by provincial grants.

“But it is astonishing to me that it only equates to the energy of 12 or 13 houses a year,” said Foster.

“It’s a small step in the right direction,” said Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin.

“It took years just to get this far.”