Town buildings to get solar panels

Duane Hicks

The town will be in the solar power business later this summer after council last night chose Solar Logix of Thunder Bay to install 10-kilowatt microFIT solar power generating systems on top of several municipal buildings.
For a total cost of $363,552 (plus HST), Solar Logix will install systems on top of the Memorial Sports Centre, water treatment plant, Public Works garage, and day care centre.
The systems for the Memorial Sports Centre, Public Works garage, and day care will be financed through a 10-year loan while the one for the water treatment plant will be financed through the 2011 capital program.
As previously reported, the solar systems are projected to generate $11,632 in annual income as the town pays off a 10-year loan used to buy the panels.
Once the 10-year financing term is over, the annual revenue is expected to jump to $49,000.
This revenue would be realized through the feed-in tariff (FIT) program under the Ontario Green Energy Act, which guarantees specific rates for energy generation from renewable sources paid by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).
Under the microFIT program, which is for generators of less than 10 kilowatts, the town would be guaranteed 80 cents per kilowatt hour produced through a 20-year contract with the OPA.
Each installation is estimated to have an annual operating cost of $600, which includes maintenance (i.e., cleaning, snow removal, etc.) and insurance.
Also last night, council held a public meeting regarding a proposed zoning bylaw amendment at 505 McIrvine Rd. (Peterbilt Fort Frances).
The property currently is zoned Highway Commercial (C3), but parent company Thunder Bay Trucking Centre Holdings has applied to have the zoning bylaw amended to change the zoning to add a key/cardlock/bulk fuel depot as a permitted use.
This addition will allow trucks to fuel up at Peterbilt Fort Frances.
No one spoke against the proposed zoning amendment, which now will be considered as a bylaw at a future council meeting.