Sunny days pay off big for the Saint-Laurent borough.
Forty-five new solar panels were added to the roof of the main office building as a new way to generate energy and help save utility costs.
The modules were installed last fall as a way to help heat, cool and power the building. The solar energy system is there to supplement but not replace the hydroelectric power provided by Hydro-Québec.
“We really want to use the sun’s heat to meet our heating and cooling needs,” Alan DeSousa, the mayor of the Saint-Laurent borough, told Global News.
He said it was too early to determine if there would be any cost savings in utility costs with the new modules; a complete review of the solar system will be conducted by the end of the year.
DeSousa added that the panels will become a permanent fixture and are the latest initiative in the borough’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its carbon footprint.
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“We want to diversify our electricity sources and not have all our eggs in one basket,” he said.
DeSousa said there are plans to expand the solar energy system to other parts of the borough and he said a couple of private companies in the industrial park also plan to add panels to their buildings.
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Simons has already added solar panels to at least two of its department stores, in Quebec City and Edmonton, as the department store tries to generate as much energy as it uses.
The federal government offers a subsidy of up to $5,000 in the Canada Greener Homes Grant program for homeowners willing to install solar panels on their properties.
Quebec does not offer a similar program but Hydro-Québec has opened two solar farms capable of generating enough energy for nearly 1,000 homes.
“Solar power is a good idea in Quebec. It is quite complementary to the hydroelectricity we have,” said Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Canada’s climate and energy campaigner.
The owner of a Quebec solar panel installation company says commercial and residential sales have increased dramatically for solar modules this year.
“We’re seeing exponential growth,” Bartek Wlodarczak, founder of Quebec Solar Solutions, told Global News.
DeSousa just hopes more days ahead mean more money in the bank for his borough.
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