In the shadow of the historic Mir Centre for Peace building high above the banks of the Columbia River, a new installation of solar panels is providing a modern touch that further reduces Selkirk College’s carbon footprint.
Installed over the summer by Empower Energy, the 46 solar panels are expected to produce more than enough energy to meet the annual needs of the beautifully restored building located on the grounds of the Castlegar Campus. Producing approximately 21,000 to 26,000 Kwh of annual electricity, the panels are tied to the FortisBC grid that enables excess power to be exported.
A new installation of 46 solar panels beside the historic Mir Centre for Peace on the Castlegar Campus. The panels are expected to produce more than enough energy to supply the annual needs of the building that is a restored early 20th Century Doukhobor communal dwelling.
“This is a terrific project that fits in well with our sustainability goals and also provides access to students in different programs who can utilize the project for educational purposes,” says Selkirk College Facilities Project Manager Mike Giesler. “Last October, we installed 275 panels on the roof of the main building on the Castlegar Campus and it has helped us turn on the lights while reducing overall energy consumption. We want to be a leader in our region when it comes to practical solutions that lessen the impact on the environment and this is one more great example.”
Based out of its headquarters in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Empower Energy has offices in five locations in Western Canada including Creston. The panels installed at the Mir Centre are rated at 405 watts each and are bifacial which means they can produce energy from both faces of the panel. One of the panels has been set on a tiltable frame to take full advantage of the seasonal variation of the West Kootenay sunshine.
An Appropriate Location for Green Footprint
The Mir Centre for Peace building is an early 20th Century Doukhobor communal dwelling that was given new life with a complete renovation that started in 1999. The building is a vital meeting place that helps foster the Mir Centre for Peace mandate of understanding and building cultures of peace through education.
“I'm thrilled that the Mir Centre was chosen as the site of this new installation because climate justice is one of the Mir Centre’s strategic priorities,” says Jennie Barron, the chair of the Mir Centre for Peace. “Taking action to support a just transition to a low-carbon future is essential for future peace, at the community level, internationally and among all living things.”
Like the Mir Centre builing itself, the panels are high above the river bank of the Columbia River and will harness the sun's energy for many years.
The panels will also be utilized by students in programs like the School of Environment & Geomatics and the Engineering Program who will be able to include the installation into course work over the semester.