(From left) Deputy Fire Chief Neal Widdifield, Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, Couns. Zeb King, Couns. Gordon Newton, Hakai Installers Jason Wilson and Rob MacInnis. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Under a bright blue sky, Central Saanich Fire Department proudly unveiled 360 solar panels at a ceremony, Friday.

Located on two of the fire station’s roofs, stretching out like a futuristic blanket, the panels will be able to generate 80 per cent of Fire Station 1’s energy consumption and is on track to be a net zero building. Like Friday, when the building is operating at a normal level, but not firing on all cylinders, it can produce three times the electricity the building needs. Operating at full capacity on a sunny day, the panels can produce over 100 kW of electricity, with excess power then feeding the main grid, powering homes and businesses nearby. In turn, the station then receives credits, to access power from the main grid on overcast days during the winter months.

ALSO READ: Central Saanich makes moves to alleviate business transit concerns

The panels cost $220,000 and will take 10 years to pay back. Their life span is 25 years, leading to cost savings of about $500,000. The project was spurred by Mayor Ryan Windsor and Coun. Zeb King who served a joint notice of motion in January 2017. District staff then researched the idea, enmeshed it into Central Saanich’s Climate Leadership Plan and budgeted it.

Vancouver Island company Hakai Energy Solutions’ bid was less than the District expected the project to cost, so they were contracted to carry out the work.

Windsor is proud of the initiative. “Every time I see a solar panel, whether its one panel or 360 I think we’re getting it. It’s tangible differences that we can make. It has an impact on the environment, positively, and an impact on our budget, positively.”

ALSO READ: Slaying dragons: getting inside the minds of climate change skeptics

King says often renewable energy is bashed by critics, saying it will lead to job losses and damage the economy. He feels projects like this show jobs and savings are more often the result. “This is an example of no loss of jobs, no extra cost – it was grant funded from senior government, not from Central Saanich tax payers. So I think we need to overcome this fear that it’s going to result in harming our economy to actually do what we have to, to meet our climate goals.”

The work took six people 10 days to install, and the team is now integrating the system, bringing it online and publishing all the data on an online portal. The system can now be used in an emergency, with the possibility of hooking batteries up to it and allow the station, which is the district’s emergency hub, to continue operating if cut off from all other fuel sources.

ALSO READ: Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Deputy Fire Chief Neal Widdifield says, “We’re excited to be one of the first on the Island to have this sort of system. It enables us to charge a lot of our equipment, some that is on the trucks, such as battery operated equipment, ‘jaws of life,’ all our radios, thermal imaging equipment, and then to be able to put power back into the system that our neighbours can use. It’s a great project.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

solar panels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jason Wilson, from Hakai, in front of the station’s electricity panel. The new solar panels produce 100 kW of power. Today the station was only using 35 kW. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Just Posted

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

TRAFFIC: Saanich emergency crews responding to Pat Bay Highway collision

Incident took place at Haliburton Road intersection

Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

Bill Okell, 65, sets sights on Canadian racing circuit for 2020

Chorus expands online options to in-person rehearsal in Langford, Oak Bay

Free, non-auditioned SingYourJoy recruits those aged 16 to 29

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read