Solar panels erected on Amherst Stadium roof

The Town of Amherst has taken an electrifying step towards a greener environment.

Crews from Thermo Dynamics Ltd. of Dartmouth will spend May 25-May 28, 2020, installing 260, 101 centimetre by 190 centimetre solar panels on the Amherst Stadium roof. The panels cover about 33 per cent of the stadium’s roof and are estimated to generate an annual output of about 123,000 kWh.

“The town is very proud of this project,” Mayor David Kogon said. “It is another tangible step towards our strategic goal of being a greener Solar 8 Ccommunity and a better steward of our environment.”

The installation of the 75-kilowatt solar array, at a cost of $256,491, is the first of three projects the town is participating in as part of the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program, which is sponsored by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines and Clean Nova Scotia. The other two projects involve placing 48-kilowatt solar arrays on both the police and fire station roofs.

The provincial pilot program enables the solar photovoltaic electricity generated by the solar arrays to be sold to Nova Scotia Power through a 20-year, power-purchase agreement. This creates a new source of revenue for the town while providing more renewable energy to the provincial power grid.

Another aim of the pilot project is to learn more about how solar energy can help Nova Scotia continue its transition to clean energy. This will be achieved by collecting data over the life of the agreement.

It is estimated the solar array placed on the stadium roof will generate about $550,018 in revenue over the 20 years of the power-purchase agreement. After expenses it is estimated, the town will experience a net profit of $118,143.

It is expected the project will be fully operational by the fall.

This project is the latest in green initiatives that stretch back to 1993, when the $13-million wastewater project to reduce wastewater in the Laplanche River and treat town sewage included a wind turbine to help reduce operational costs.

Other steps taken by the town include the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019 and its participation in a $93-million Smartgrid project that is supported by the federal government and being led by Siemens Canada and the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick power companies.