Metchosin considers solar panels for fire department roof

Council supportive of idea, as long as panel project makes financial sense

Metchosin council is intrigued by the possibility of putting solar panels on top of the district’s fire hall, but it needs to see the final numbers before the project gets the green light.

Consultant and Metchosin resident Andrea Zelma-Sofrova presented the concept of adding panels to the hall, which she believes could be a financial success for the municipality.

While her initial cost analysis showed a positive business case, using what she called conservative estimates, this was done without the use of the hall’s real-life hydro numbers. She’s now been given access to those and will work up a report with the more accurate figures.

The fire hall is a good place for the panels, according to Zelma-Sofrova, because of its location and tendency to get a lot of summer sun. “There are pretty much no trees around, so there’s no shade. The roof is (facing) … the southwest, so it’s a perfect location,” she said. The roof also doesn’t need any maintenance in the near future.

Long hours of sunshine in summer would help make up for mostly overcast winters, and there would be a chance for the district to bank B.C. Hydro credits during the summer to offset energy use in the winter.

It’s also a good way to show visitors that Metchosin is a municipality that supports green initiatives, Zelma-Sofrova said.

“It’s just something to set an example and kind of promote the idea and the industry. It’s a clean energy.”

That wasn’t lost on Coun. Andy MacKinnon, who said council would be in favour of the concept if it turns out to make financial sense.

“I think it’s an excellent idea. I think it shows a commitment from the municipality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and I think council is, in general, supportive of the idea,” he said.

“We just have to look into the logistics,” he said.