Nelson solar garden meets sales target, gets grant

The solar garden has received $20,000 from Bullfrog Power, a renewable energy consultant and funder.

Nelson Hydro's solar garden project has received $20

Nelson Hydro's solar garden project has received $20

Nelson Hydro’s solar garden has moved a step closer to reality because of a $20,000 grant and the pre-sale of 152 solar panels to the public.

The solar array has yet to be built, and will be located near Nelson Hydro’s Bonnington generating station. The power produced by purchased panels would be credited to purchasers’ power bill and Hydro is promising a return on investment in12 to 15 years.

The grant has come from Bullfrog Power, a social enterprise with offices in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver.The company helps businesses and individuals shift to green energy or invest in it, and it funds projects like Nelson’s solar garden.

Nelson Hydro put 200 solar panels on pre-sale recently, stating that if 150 were sold by the end of the one-month pre-sale period, the project would move to the next step, which means taking bids and awarding a contract for the supply of the panels.

There are still panels for sale, says project lead Carmen Proctor: “We would sell up to 400 panels if there are buyers for them.”

The more panels sold, the lower the cost for each subscriber.

Because she doesn’t yet know what the panels will cost or how many there will eventually be, Proctor is still not declaring the cost to customers, saying it will not be more than $850 per panel. Purchasers are paying a $500 deposit until the final cost is known.

Nelson Hydro has committed $25,000 to the project plus $2,000 per year in maintenance costs. Proctor says the cost to people not participating will be very low.

“This will cost each ratepayer 30 cents per year for 25 years,” she says. “If the maintenance cost were to fluctuate from time to time, the cost to ratepayers will still be minimal.”