City of Owen Sound Solar Installations
The City of Owen Sound has two 10 kW solar panel installations on City properties, one at the Public Works Facility at 1900 20th Street East and the other at the Kiwanis Soccer Complex at 3005 9th Avenue East.
The purpose of the solar installations is to generate green energy and generate revenue for the City. The solar installations have been developed under the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) small Feed in Tariff (MicroFIT) program. The City owns the solar installations and the power produced is fed into the local energy grid. The City receives a monthly cheque from Hydro One for the energy produced by the solar panels.
The solar installations were supplied and installed by Essex Energy Corporation of LaSalle, Ontario following an extensive Request for Proposal process. The solar panel configuration is referred to as a Seasonal Tilt installation as the panels are fixed and do not track the sun each day. The angle of the panels relative to the ground surface is adjusted in the spring and again in the fall to account for the seasonal position of the sun relative to the horizon. While Seasonal Tilt installations do not produce as much energy per square meter of panel as a tracking system does, the installation is less expensive and is less prone to breakdowns than tracking systems over the 20-year MicroFIT contract period.
Solar panels produce energy as photons from the sun dislodge electrons from the crystalline structure of the solar cells. Together, the cascading electrons become Direct Current (DC) electricity. As the local Hydro grid employs Alternating Current (AC) electricity the panel output is converted from DC to AC by way of a current inverter located at each installation.
It is anticipated that the solar installations will pay for themselves within the first 10 years of the 20-year MicroFIT contract.
The WebWatts Site links below provide real-time readings of the energy being produced at each of the City solar installations as well as a summary of the power and revenue generated this year and since the installations came on-line in December 2011.
Soccer Complex Solar Panels - http://www.webwatts.ca/public/7SQHKA
Public Works Solar Panels - http://www.webwatts.ca/public/KIYSRZ