Nelson, BC, turns on Canada’s first community solar garden project

Source: 

BullfroPower

Thu, 06/22/2017
Today, Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider, and the City of Nelson are announcing the launch of  the 60 kW Nelson Community Solar Garden Project. Canada’s first community solar garden installation is using “virtual net-metering” to showcase the future of how Canadians can support renewable energy projects in their community.
 
“Bullfrog Power is proud to be a partner in developing Canada’s first community solar garden project,” said Ron Seftel, CEO, Bullfrog Power. “The virtual net-metering model is taking off across the United States and has huge potential to change how we develop solar projects in Canada.”
 
Since 2005, Bullfrog Power has been offering a solution for Canadians who want to support renewable energy, without installing and maintaining their own solar panels or a wind turbine. Instead, Bullfrog Power sources green energy on its customers’ behalf through its network of partner renewable energy producers such as wind farms and small-scale hydro facilities. Virtual net-metering extends this concept to local, community-scale solar gardens to which individuals and households can subscribe directly. Rather than installing a solar panel on their roof, subscribers are assigned the output of a solar panel in the solar garden, allowing them to take advantage of a lower development cost model and centralized management of the project.
 
Subscribers to the Nelson project purchased their solar panels at an upfront cost of $945, with no further payments required. The community solar garden model can also allow participants the option of paying for every kilowatt-hour of power their panels produce over the solar garden’s lifespan. In both cases, as panels generate clean, pollution-free electricity each month, customers receive “solar credits” that are deducted from their electricity bill. The solar credits are calculated annually and are equal to their share of the solar garden’s production. Over time, all of the subscribers will recoup their initial investment and continue saving money on their electricity bills as long as the garden produces renewable energy.
 
“Bullfrog Power and the City of Nelson made important financial contributions to this project, but what makes the Nelson Community Solar Garden truly special is the collective commitment by the individual investors and groups from throughout the Nelson community to support clean energy in British Columbia,” said Alex Love, General manager Nelson Hydro.
 
Bullfrog Power provided a pre-feasibility grant to the project and followed up with additional financial support during the construction phase to ensure this first of its kind project could be built here in Canada.  Through its community renewable projects program, Bullfrog Power has supported more than 115 green energy projects nationwide due to the commitment of Bullfrog’s thousands of customers across the country. From coast to coast to coast, Bullfrog Power community projects include the Hope Blooms solar greenhouse in Halifax as well as solar projects with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories and B.C.’s Kanaka Bar Indian Band.