School Solar Project Prompts “Community of the Year” Award at Conference

VANCOUVER — Today British Columbia’s clean-energy industry leaders will raise a glass to Lasqueti Island—a off-grid community about 400 residents in the Salish Sea—for its leadership in fighting climate change and reducing fossil-fuel dependence through solar energy.

Following a multi-year fundraising and financing effort led by Reid Wilson, the head teacher at the island’s two-room False Bay School, as well as parent Doug Hopwood and dozens of students, this past spring the community energized a 42 kW five-panel solar array at the school.

Prior to the installation coming online, the school’s diesel generator ran 10 hours a day year round, burning 16,000 litres of fuel per year. The generator is still running, but the solar panels have cut fuel use to about 6,000 litres per year. The move has reduced carbon emissions by 28 tonnes per year, and will save the School District about $400,000 over the life of the project.

In recognition of the project—and a second solar array recently installed atop the island’s health centre—this evening, Lasqueti Island will today be recognized as Community of the Year at the GENERATE 2016 conference in Vancouver.

“We’re honoured to accept this award on behalf of the young people of our community, who have held this dream and carried it forward since they set off on a fundraising hike all the way back in 2009,” said teacher Reid Wilson.

“You don’t always have to look to the big cities to find leadership on renewable power,” said Paul Kariya, the executive director of Clean Energy BC. “Thanks to the ‘free fuel’ provided by the sun, tiny Lasqueti Island will save its school district $400,000 over the life of this project.”

The awards also recognized the Splatsin First Nation and a number of specific clean power projects including the Culliton Creek, Box Canyon, Ashlu Creek, Jimmie Creek run-of-river hydro plants. The association also recognized two individuals: Jay Sutton, vice president, hydro power at Alterra Power and Sam Mottram of Knight Piésold Canada.

GENERATE 2016 is the annual conference of Clean Energy BC, the industry association representing British Columbia’s local, small-scale, clean-power producers.

James Glave

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