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Parrsboro’s Hall set to be powered by solar energy

Rob Bentley (centre), chairman of the Parrsboro Band Association board, is flanked by treasurer Johannes Hiesberger and Bruce McCulloch in celebrating the near-completion of the installation of solar panels on the roof of The Hall in Parrsboro. Hiesberger and McCulloch were instrumental in getting the project’s financing in place.
Rob Bentley (centre), chairman of the Parrsboro Band Association board, is flanked by treasurer Johannes Hiesberger and Bruce McCulloch in celebrating the near-completion of the installation of solar panels on the roof of The Hall in Parrsboro. Hiesberger and McCulloch were instrumental in getting the project’s financing in place. - Contributed

$103,000 project will provide 41 megawatt hours of energy over 20 years or more

PARRSBORO, N.S. —

Johannes Hiesberger has long advocated for the use of solar energy.

It’s no surprise he was beaming with a sense of accomplishment as solar panels were being erected and installed on the roof of The Hall, a community performing centre operated by the Parrsboro Band Association.

“It’s excellent. It’s a big step toward making The Hall completely green, which was one of our main priorities from when the band association was formed,” said Hiesberger, who is the association’s treasurer. “It’s something that goes back at least a decade. Now, to see it happening is great news, not only for us, but for the community because we can be the model for others.”

Hiesberger said the association first thought of using geothermal energy, but quickly moved to solar energy as a means of powering the King Street facility that hosts numerous community events and was the venue for the recent Parrsboro Film Festival.

He expects the final work to be completed in the next couple of weeks as the solar power system is hooked up to the Nova Scotia Power grid. The solar panels on the roof will provide enough electricity for The Hall as well as up to a dozen other homes on the Nova Scotia Power grid.

It will also be a source of revenue for The Hall and the investors, who came together to fund the $103,000 project that will provide 41 megawatt hours annually for 20 years and beyond.

“Our goal has always been to be a clean community building. Not only that, but we’ll have enough power for our own building as well as dozen or so other buildings,” said Hiesberger, who operates the Maple Inn with his wife and uses solar power to heat its water.

Doctor Solar of Halifax is the contractor for the project and has been busily installing the 104 solar panels and completing the installation phase.

Panels are being placed on the west side of the roof of The Hall on King Street in Parrsboro. The $103,000 project that will provide 41 megawatt hours annually for 20 years and beyond.
Panels are being placed on the west side of the roof of The Hall on King Street in Parrsboro. The $103,000 project that will provide 41 megawatt hours annually for 20 years and beyond.

“It’s amazing how quickly we were able to find investors and that was because this was a green energy project,” he said.The Parrsboro project is the only one of 18 the province approved in 2017 through the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Pilot Program. The local project hit a roadblock when it could not secure the necessary funding from the Municipality of Cumberland and it appeared to be dead in the water until Bruce McCulloch went to work with Hiesberger and the board of director to find local investors for the project.

The money included $80,000 from investors and the remainder from the band association.

It’s these investors and the band association that came up with the capital to move forward.

Hiesberger said the project would not have moved ahead without McCulloch’s expertise.

“I think it’s the start of something and I hope there is another program or two like this in the years to come,” he said. “This is great for the community. This is a flagship project in that it’s a prominent building in the community. It’s great to have solar there to demonstrate the feasibility of it.”

McCulloch is president of MCC Energy Strategies that provides insight into various industrial and commercial energy efficiency opportunities and how current energy use can be efficiently utilized, specifically through the application of industrial/commercial best practices.

He also ran in Cumberland South for the Green Party in the 2018 by-election.

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