A gift of solar power

Several volunteers spent their Saturday on the roof of the Kelowna Gospel Mission Saturday, helping save the shelter $1,000 per year in expenses.

Crews from Okanagan Solar, along with Highstreet Ventures, spent the day installing a solar panel array on the building, worth about $20,000. The money saved through the free energy from the new system will be spent on providing services to the Mission's clients.

“Look at the need in town, I mean, just helping to give back to the community,” said Rob Monteith, owner of Okanagan Solar.

Monteith said the idea started last fall, when he was driving some of his suppliers down Leon Street.

“There happened to be a couple hundred people in the street and I said to (the suppliers), 'If you guys have any extra materials that you want to donate, this would be a good place to see if we could help them out with some grid-type power,'” Monteith said. “And they all immediately said yes.

“Then I mentioned it to one of my clients, Highstreet, and they said 'We'll help do the install.'”

The savings from the free power will have an impact on what the Mission can offer its clients.

“This is a fantastic project, obviously it's going to save us money throughout the year on our electric bill, plus it's green energy,” said Randy Benson, executive director of the Gospel Mission.

“Every dollar helps, it'll go towards our other programs of feeding and sheltering the people that we serve.”

The grid is expected to begin generating power within a week or two.

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