Alberta has some of the best wind and solar energy resources in Canada. With that powerful ‘northwesterly’ wind blowing across the Prairies and tremendous amounts of sunlight, Alberta is in a great position to go big in renewable energy. Rural communities are taking a hard look to see how they can benefit from solar power in particular.
With the cost of solar panels dropping by more than 90% since 2007 and wind and solar emerging as some of the lowest-cost sources of electricity in Alberta, community-owned solar has direct benefits for rural communities like jobs creation, energy independence, new sources of revenue and developing new skills in our communities (watch the video below to get a better idea)
A community-generation project is created when a group of community members get together and find new and creative ways to share and apply solar technology in their homes, businesses and communities. You may have heard it called solar gardens, solar farms, or shared solar plants. The community of Nelson, BC launched the first one in Canada in June of 2017.
The point is it is owned by the community, not an individual or one company. The owners of a community-owned solar project could be a town or county, cooperative or a group of residents who have agreed to work together. And often these groups will partner with an electrical company or a financial institution. The purpose of a solar lab is to support a community-generation project to achieve their solar goals, through capacity building and networking.
Still not sure what community-owned solar is? Check out this handy guide for more details.
While we don’t currently have funding to support community-owned solar projects, we’ve included a list of organizations that are currently working as or with energy cooperators. We encourage you to reach out to them if this is something that you’d like to implement in your community.
Please get in touch with us to begin the conversation.