The City of Fredericton, as part of its renewable energy strategy, has installed solar panels at Killarney Lake Lodge. The installation is in partnership with the NB Power Net Metering Program. Fredericton City Council has approved the necessary agreement between the City and NB Power and Killarney Lake Lodge will begin to receive credits for any unused solar power on its next energy bill.
The Lodge, with its southwest facing roof, is well positioned for this type of use. The solar panels, which were installed by MJM Solar Solutions, are estimated to produce 18% of the building’s required yearly electricity once fully functioning. The total cost of the project is $34,207, plus HST.
The Net Metering program provides customers with the option to connect their own environmentally sustainable generation unit to NB Power’s distribution system. It allows customers to generate their own electricity to offset their consumption, while remaining connected to NB Power’s distribution system – so they can meet their electricity demands when their generation unit cannot.
“The City has been actively looking for the right opportunity to introduce a small scale solar energy project into our municipal operations,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien. “The immediate benefit of this particular project is the generation of electrical energy and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We are looking forward to monitoring its progress and gaining the experience necessary to prepare for larger initiatives.”
The project is part of the Net Metering program with NB Power, which allows utility customers to connect their distributed generation devices to the electrical grid to offset their power bills. The meter is able to track how much energy the solar array (solar panels) sends to the grid, compared to how much the building draws from the grid. This is evaluated on a monthly basis and tracks credits to be carried forward, however, in the unlikely event a building produces more energy than it draws, NB Power will not compensate for the surplus.
Currently, Killarney Lake Lodge consumes 94,500 kWh based on a 5 year average. The solar array is 17 kW. Conservative estimates, based on a 2% per year rate increase and a generation capacity of 16,000 kWh/year, indicate the project will see a return on investment within 16 years.
For more on the City’s renewable energy strategy, visit www.greenmattersfredericton.ca.