(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

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

George Jay parents tired of dog poop left on school’s fields

Parents advocate for stronger fines, more signage in the neighbourhood

Booms go up in Gorge Creek after hydrocarbon spill

The source of the spill is being investigated

Dog dies, Victoria man arrested after incident in Oaklands

Police called to ‘incident between a man and a dog’ Monday afternoon

Thief steals donation box, tip jar from Oak Bay businesses

Oak Bay Police Department looking for suspect

VIDEO: Greater Victoria mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Most Read