Summerland Going Solar
The District of Summerland has received conditional approval for up to $6,000,000 in funding from the Federal Gas Tax Fund to support the development of a 1MW solar array with 2MW of battery storage to be sited within the District’s municipal boundaries. The solar+storage project will provide for "around 1 percent of the need" according to Summerland Mayor Peter Waterman, "so obviously it won't supply the whole community for its power needs. It ends up being a pilot to some extent, demonstrating how well and useful it can be."
The District has previously received $100,000 in grant funding from the Province of British Columbia’s Rural Dividend Program to complete the initial phases of developing the project: site assessment; feasibility, solar resource, and interconnection studies; and public consultation initiatives. The $6M earmarked from the Federal Gas Tax Fund will be provided depended upon the completion of the feasibility study, which Mayor Waterman doesn't consider an obstacle. If the conditions are not met by March 2019, the funding will be rescinded.
The total project cost is estimated at $6,980,000, which includes $1.4M for upgrades to Summerland’s existing electrical system; the District will contribute the funds required beyond the $6M grant from its electrical utility capital reserve fund.
Each year, the Government of Canada provides over $278 million in funding for local government infrastructure across British Columbia through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. The Union of BC Municipalities administers the Federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.