By Cal Braid
Westwind Weekly News
At an Oct. 18 council meeting in Raymond, members reviewed the 2022 year-to-date numbers generated by their municipal solar initiative. CAO Kurtis Pratt explained the monetary value of the system. “We’ve been working hard at trying to come up with a clear way of demonstrating the value of the solar program—if it is generating enough revenue to cover expenses or if it isn’t. The data that is shown here is the totals in microgeneration credits. That’s the revenue we’re generating off each asset.”
A table of numbers showed the microgeneration credits for the town’s facilities that are set up to function at net-zero through solar power: the fire hall, pool, golf course (#1), shop, office, golf course (#2), arena, and Victoria Sports Park.
“There are two caveats: the pool and the golf course (#2). There’s something wrong with the reporting of those. We’re digging in to figure out why those are not being reported accurately,” Pratt said. The total year-to-date pool credits were listed at $1,147.04, and the golf course (#2) credits were listed at $260.85.
The year-to-date (Jan.-Sept.) total microgeneration credits for all facilities was listed at $134,069.70.
The Town has a 15-year lease with ENMAX for the arrays, and the lease payment total for 2022 (principal and interest) is $133,621.80. Pratt said that the figure is the total expense for the 12-month year, not year-to-date.
“You can see even with the pool and golf course (#2) not showing proper revenues, and still having October, November, and December to come, we’ve already made enough money on strictly the microgeneration credit to cover the annual lease payments. Anything that is made from this point on is pure profit. The other thing of note is this does not take into consideration the selling of the renewable energy credits; selling carbon offset credits which will bring in money annually to the municipality as well,” he said.
Pratt explained that the figures do not take into consideration the power that the facilities have consumed that was solar generated, “So, this is strictly what we’ve exported to the grid. This is power that we’ve produced and consumed instead of pulling off the grid.”
“(It’s) a complicated formula that we haven’t quite figured out how to quantify. Just know that that is additional savings over and above what we see here because we produced some of the power consumed,” he told council. “For the municipality, the solar program has been a tremendous success and it will be going forward. It’s paying for itself–and then some—and we’re excited for the opportunities that are available to the municipality going forward that we’ll be bringing to council for consideration in the future.”
The town’s various arrays came online from 2017-2019, and Pratt said on the 15-year lease there’s a 15-year “bumper to bumper” warranty. “We’re comfortable to let all the kinks get worked out of the system.”