Setting the record on Solar Colwood

Re: Solar Colwood needs scrutiny, Letters, April 11, 2012.

Re: Solar Colwood needs scrutiny, Letters, April 11, 2012.

A recent letter included serious errors regarding the facts on Solar Colwood.

This program, still in its early stages, has installed either ductless split heat pumps or solar hot water systems into 86 households. These Colwood homeowners have collectively received $154,850 in federal grant money from the program and can look forward to saving money on their energy costs for many years to come (hydro went up another seven per cent April 1 for a total increase of 48 per cent on the top rate since the beginning of 2006).

We hit 78 per cent of our first year’s target, a year in which three months were dedicated to the program’s start-up process. This makes Solar Colwood one of the most successful programs of its type in Canada on a per capita basis.

The grant of up to $3.9 million from Natural Resources Canada is being matched by cash and in-kind contributions from the program partners, as well as the participating homeowners and businesses, for a total program value of about $12 million — a significant contribution to the regional economy that is already creating new local jobs.

Program staff are ensuring that the federal contribution does not exceed 33 per cent. Colwood taxpayers will contribute a maximum of $31,400 over the three year program — 0.3 per cent of the total program budget, or the equivalent of about $5 per household for the entire program.

The program is subject to ongoing audits from Natural Resources Canada, and all expenditures are carefully tracked.

Both the current and the previous councils have shown strong support for the program, as did the majority of the public in the recent election.

J Scott

Solar Colwood program co-ordinator