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New Westminster Is Introducing BC’s First Solar Garden

Solar Garden

Photo: Delaware Cooperative Extension / Flickr

The City of New Westminster is taking some major strides forward in sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The city plans to build an urban solar garden that will provide the city with clean and sustainable energy for the future. Rather than having individual solar rooftop panels, the centralized city garden provides less expensive, long term access to solar energy.

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A few sites are in consideration for the Urban Solar Garden, with an array that would range in size up to 50kW (approximately 200 panels). According to the New Westminster Record, “Potential locations for the solar garden include the city’s works yard, city hall and other civic rooftops, with a technical evaluation taking place in the next few months to determine the best spot.”

Residents of New Westminster that participate in the project will receive a credit for the energy generated by the Urban Solar Garden to the subscriber’s electricity bills in proportion to their investment, for up to 25 years.


New Westminster’s Solar Garden

Some of the benefits of the garden include:

  • Easy access: Generate your own renewable energy without having to install your own solar PV system.
  • Long term savings: As grid electricity rates rise over time, so will the value of your savings year after year.
  • Lower capital costs: Investment cost for solar PV with the Urban Solar Garden is less on a per panel basis, because of economies of scale and support from the City.
  • No maintenance: There are no hassles with service and maintenance of your panel, since the ongoing operation of the solar array is handled by the City.
  • Local leadership: Participate in a signature project that demonstrates leadership in energy and environment.

The city held a public consultation for the Urban Solar Garden and made 150 photovoltaic panels available for purchase. The event had massive success, as the city sold 95% of the panels within the first meeting.

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