School District 8 has purchased 10 panels from Nelson's solar garden project.

School District 8 has purchased 10 panels from Nelson's solar garden project.

SD8 backs Nelson solar garden

Operations director Larry Brown sees this as "a way to get into solar gardening without the headaches.”

The Kootenay Lake school district has purchased 10 panels in Nelson Hydro’s community solar garden project. Not only will that reduce emissions, it will give district administration an idea of how to cut costs and become more energy efficient.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a solar project that approaches the economics that actually make sense,” SD8 operations director Larry Brown told the Star. “I see this as a way to get into solar gardening without the headaches.”

The district has previously supported solar projects, at one point receiving a $20,000 grant to put in a panel at L.V. Rogers, and Brown said the latest decision will allow SD8 to get the “biggest bang for our buck.”

He’s attached each panel to a different bank account in the district, so he can easily track the energy generated from each panel and share that information with school staff.

“Credit to the City of Nelson, I think it’s a forward-thinking project,” said Brown, who also purchased panels for himself. “I think it’s a great thing for this area.”

Construction on the panels will begin in the summer of 2016 at Nelson Hydro’s Bonnington site.

Superintendent Jeff Jones is enthusiastic about the project.

“I think it’s really important we model for our students an interest in and willingness to pursue alternative energy sources,,” he said. “My hope is the regional district will see this as a model and we’ll be able to connect to similar projects throughout the district.”