Summerland plans for an integrated solar project


District of Summerland

Fri, 03/09/2018
The District of Summerland has received conditional approval for up to $6,000,000 in funding from the Federal Gas Tax Fund to support the development of a 1MW solar array with 2 MW of battery storage to be sited within the District’s municipal boundaries. The solar+storage project will provide localized benefits to Summerland’s electrical utility systems and ratepayers, provide resiliency for critical infrastructure, and will be a showcase of utilizing cleantech that other municipalities can look to.
By generating solar energy locally, the District of Summerland will strengthen its existing utility resource, enhance the local economy and create jobs, increase energy security and independence, support innovation, and attract new residents and visitors. Further, this project will form the basis for an integrated, long-term approach to sustainable energy management within the District, which will provide ongoing opportunities for job creation, community involvement, and partnerships with local businesses, schools, and not-for-profit groups.
The District has previously received $100,000 in grant funding from the Province of British Columbia’s Rural Dividend Program to complete the initial phases of developing the project: site assessment; feasibility, solar resource, and interconnection studies; and public consultation initiatives. The $6M earmarked from the Federal Gas Tax Fund will be provided depended upon the completion of the feasibility study and the securing of all funding necessary to complete the project. If the conditions are not met by March 2019, the funding will be rescinded. This additional funding would support the engineering, procurement, and construction of the 1MW solar array and 2MW of battery storage once the initial studies are complete and the community has been thoroughly consulted. The total project cost is estimated at $6,980,000, which includes $1.4M for upgrades to Summerland’s existing electrical system; the District will contribute the funds required beyond the $6M grant from its electrical utility capital reserve fund.
Each year, the Government of Canada provides over $278 million in funding for local government infrastructure across British Columbia through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. The Union of BC Municipalities administers the Federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. 
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