Evansdale invests in solar

Posted by Justin Havre on Monday, December 7th, 2015 at 2:44pm.

Every community league in Edmonton strives to improve the life for citizens in their neighbourhoods. But one association is striving to improve life for the whole planet by investing in solar energy.

Evansdale Community League in North Edmonton is just like the other 158 community leagues in the city. It's run by a group of volunteers elected to the community board. They run the facility, renting it out when required. They run programs and social events for residents and engage in civic issues. But Evansdale is setting an example for all other Edmonton communities by investing in solar energy to run their building.

Installing solar panels on the roof of the building was part of a bigger project undertaken by the community. Volunteers fundraised $800,000 to lay new asphalt on the ball hockey and basketball court. They built a new outdoor rink and installed LED rink lights and new lights for the parking lot which will save 65% in energy costs. A small piece of that was the $43,500 on a solar system. Part of it was paid for out of the money raised by the community but 85% of it was paid for out provincial and municipal grants.

Generally, it takes 18 to 20 years for a solar system to pay for itself in recaptured energy costs. Then after that time, your energy is virtually free for the next 40 to 50 years, or the life of your system. However, because of the grant money that Evansdale applied for and was awarded, payback will happen in four to five years instead. That calculation is based on what energy costs today.

The grid system installed at Evansdale will generate about 50% of its energy requirements in a 12-month period.

Infrastructure is normally something that begins to depreciate the moment it's installed. This type of infrastructure pays dividends to offset that depreciation.

Evansdale has presented the work done on this project to nearly 70 other Edmonton community leagues with the hopes that all will follow suit.

This project, though relatively small, is on track with Edmonton's community energy transition plan. The City of Edmonton has laid out an ambitious plan to generate at least 10% of the city's electricity from renewable sources, such as solar, by 2035. What better place to start than at the grassroots level with the rooftops of the 158 community league buildings in the city.

The City of Edmonton applauded the Evansdale initiative and hopes that local businesses will take up the challenge as well as non-profit groups to think about going solar. Eventually individuals will be able to get over the hurdles that may be preventing them from making choices about sustainable energy in Edmonton.

Evansdale's 13.6 kilowatt rooftop solar project should cover 50% of the league's annual electricity bill. Only half the roof is occupied by the system, leaving room for a larger system in the future.

The Evansdale Community League serves the residents of Eaux Claires, Belle Rive and Evansdale. Its lies between 97 Street and 82 Street from west to east, and 144 Avenue north of 167 Avenue.

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