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Solar panels to be installed throughout Cumberland County

Karen Casey, minister of the Finance and Treasury Board of Nova Scotia, recently announced five solar energy projects in Cumberland County.
Karen Casey, minister of the Finance and Treasury Board of Nova Scotia, recently announced five solar energy projects in Cumberland County. - Dave Mathieson

Projects in Amherst, Springhill, Parrsboro

SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Cumberland County continues to build towards a greener future.

“With respect to Cumberland County, when you look down Parrsboro way, the project approved there is for 72-kilowatt hours, which will be used as part of the wastewater facility,” Karen Casey, minister of the Finance and Treasury Board of Nova Scotia, recently said at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill. “And in Springhill, 72-kilowatt hours will be used as part of their wastewater facility.”

Springhill was also approved for 48-kilowatt hours installation at their water treatment facility,

Two 48-kilowatt projects were also announced for Amherst as well, with all five projects coming out of the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings program.

“Last year, we were awarded a 75-kilowatt project that will see solar panels erected on the Amherst Stadium roof in 2020,” Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said. “This year, we’ve been awarded two 48-kilowatt projects that will see solar panels placed on the roofs of the town’s fire station and the police department by the fall of 2021.”

Herrett said the three projects are estimated to generate more than 5.2-million kilowatt-hours over the lifespan of the contracts.

“With our $650,000 investment, these three projects have the potential to generate more than $1.2 million for the town over the life of the 20-year-purchase agreement,” he said.

The solar panel installations in Cumberland County add to the county’s desire to be an environmental leader in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the world.

“Over the last few years we’ve been fortunate to be included in this program (the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings program) at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre, and for other buildings such as the Band Hall in Parrsboro and the FORCE visitor centre in West Bay,” said Joe Van Vulpen, deputy warden for Cumberland County, said.

Casey said the green economy is growing in Nova Scotia.

“Not only are we generating energy and electricity through solar or through tidal we’re also creating a lot of other jobs,” she said, adding that last year there were 13 solar-panel installing companies approved by the province, and this year there are 57.

“That tells me that it is an industry that is moving forward and people are buying into that and wanting to be part of that industry,” Casey said. “About 200 businesses have signed onto solar energy and there are about 1,400 people who are directly or indirectly involved in that solar-installer industry.”

The Solar Electricity for Community Buildings program is in the third year of a three-year pilot program.

"There have been 71 approvals to date,” Casey said. “This year there were 26, and these four announcements today are part of that 26.”

At the end of the pilot, the program will be evaluated to see how successful it was, and if it should be continued, tweaked, or scrapped for an entirely new program.

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