Multi-million-dollar Summerland solar power project headed to a public meeting next week

Solar up for public comment

The District of Summerland council will be hearing the results of a detailed land site analysis, land appraisal and land use assessment regarding a planned multi-million dollar solar and storage project Monday, along with comments from the public. 

If approved, the project would involve a nearly $1 million contribution from the district and $6 million from grant funding, and would include 3200 solar panels located at the former public works yard on Prairie Valley Road.

The array would produce a estimated 1,175,000 kWh per year, which is approximately 1/93 (1.1 per cent) of the amount of energy Summerland currently purchases from FortisBC and will offset the energy used by approximately 100 Summerland homes each year.

At Monday's meeting, council will hear the lates updates, and members of the public can weigh in. Some have already shared their views with Castanet, including Coun. Richard Barkwill who slammed the project in a public letter in early June. 

"Why would Summerland Council want a solar project, that is temporary, wasting over $2,800,000 of design and construction cost and put on the most valuable piece of developable land the District owns? I don’t know," Barkwill wrote.

Others sent letters to the district, which will be received by council Monday. 

"It is a lot of money and will benefit very few residents. This year dealing with a pandemic is no time for extras. Let's just get through this difficult time without spending money we don't need to spend.It is a lot of money and will benefit very few residents," wrote Diane Ambery. 

"Council should encourage private homeowners to install solar panels [instead]," wrote Sheila White. 

Monday's meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Arena Banquet Room, though in-person attendance will be limited to 50 people. Public feedback can be sent via email to [email protected], or a request to speak via telephone. All requests and correspondence received before 10 a.m. July 13 will be included.

District staff have put together a frequently asked questions page regarding the project, available here. The meeting will be broadcast live for those who can't attend in person here

Have an opinion? Let us know at [email protected]

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