By Greg Bobinec
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Raymond has completed its seven significant solar panel installations throughout the town, becoming one of the first municipalities in Alberta to be net zero.
With the completion of the projects, along with the upcoming Town Hall and Victoria Park carports in the spring, the Town of Raymond will meet 100 per cent of its operational electricity needs through solar power, reducing emissions by over 800 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to removing 169 cars off the road.
Retrofitted buildings include the fire hall, town Public Works shop, aquatic centre, arena, Victoria Sports Park and golf course, and the Ridgewater treatment plant.
“Having the opportunity to sell excess power back to the grid and reduce our annual operating expenses over the life of the project made adopting solar an extremely easy decision for council to make,” said Kurt Pratt, chief administrative officer (CAO) for the Town of Raymond.
“Our council saw the long-term benefits of this decision and demonstrated tremendous leadership by allowing us to become electrically net-zero operationally.”
In total, 2,826 solar panels were installed throughout the town and will generate 1,252 MWh annually, and save between $100,000 and $150,000 on electricity costs annually, based on the town’s current consumption. The project was funded in part by the Municipal Climate Chance Action Centre, and was facilitated by Enmax.
“Enmax has been providing renewable energy to homes, business and municipalities since 2009,” said Jason Atkinson, director of solar operations for Enmax.
“We work closely with municipalities across the province to understand their goals and help develop customized energy solutions.”
Raymond continues to strive to be a sustainable community by reducing its water consumption, embracing the sun to become one of the first municipalities in North America to be electrically net-zero operationally, expanded its storm-water retention capacity and enhanced their waste management facility, all for the betterment of the environment.