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Masset Airport wins environmental award

It’s “electrifying” news.
Terratek Energy Solutions photo Working just across the road from the diesel-fired generators that power Haida Gwaii’s northern electrical grid, an installer with Terratek Energy Solutions prepares to mount a 61-panel solar array on the Masset Municipal Airport last fall. According to the local Swiilawiid Sustainability Society, about two-thirds of Haida Gwaii’s electricity comes from diesel generators, with the remaining third generated by a small hydro dam near Mitchell Inlet — a system that burns about 10 million litres of diesel a year.

Kal Manna calls it “electrifying” news.

Masset’s municipal airport has won a Silver Wings award from the BC Aviation Council for installing solar panels on its terminal building.

Manna, who manages the airport, credited Port Clements CAO Kim Mushynsky for her part in the environmental award — it was Mushynsky who applied to the Union of BC Municipalities for the $589,000 needed to install the airport array and four more solar rooftop installations on public buildings in Masset, Skidegate, Queen Charlotte and Port Clements.

All together, the panels now produce about 172 kilowatts of clean electricity — enough to power between 30 and 60 homes.

Besides an array of solar panels on its south-facing roof, the airport terminal also has a battery backup system to help transfer power to the Haida Gwaii grid and provide power during blackouts.

Data from the airport array does seem to confirm one less-than-sunny fact, however — Masset had quite an overcast spring this year.

Despite having the longest days of the year, the airport panels actually gathered more sunlight in May than they did in “June-uary.”