First recipients of the ENMAX Community Solar Fund beginning to catch some rays
Solar panel installations underway at Calgary community associations
Calgary, Alta. – The first of dozens of solar energy installations are underway at community halls throughout Calgary, providing them with sustainable and affordable energy through the ENMAX Community Solar Fund.
The fund – a partnership between ENMAX and The City of Calgary announced in July 2021 – provides $5 million in-kind from ENMAX Energy to designated community halls and is administered by The City.
ENMAX Energy provides the solar equipment and oversees installation of the solar panels on community halls selected by The City at no cost to the community association. The solar panel installations can generate up to 100 per cent of the facility’s annual energy consumption, for an average lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
"At ENMAX, we are thrilled to help community associations free up some of their operating funds so they can continue to enrich our neighbourhoods," said Bruce Borwick, ENMAX Energy’s Vice President Trading, Origination and Commercial Sales. "This fund helps us on the path to net zero and also benefits Calgary’s community centres at a time when they need it the most."
The installations tap into Alberta’s solar resources, some of the best in Canada. Calgary is one of Canada’s sunniest municipalities with 2,390 hours of sunshine annually.
Once the solar panels are installed, the system is turned over to the community association to begin producing renewable energy.
"This solar installation will have a massive impact on our community," said Anita Raffaele, president of the Ranchlands Community Association – one of the first communities to benefit from the fund. "The pandemic has taken a financial toll on our association. This installation will allow us to save on energy costs, freeing up money to run more great programs for our community."
For the next phase of the program, The City will continue to identify more eligible community halls for future installations. All solar installations are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
"We are forging the path to a more resilient future with the ENMAX Community Solar Fund," said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. "This partnership is a win-win for Calgarians as the cost-benefits realized by the community associations will have a tremendous impact in our neighbourhoods. Previous operating funds will now be available to activate our communities all while contributing to a more sustainable city."
"I am pleased to see the work of the ENMAX Community Solar Fund become a reality," said Ward 14 City Councillor Peter Demong. "The idea of this program and seeing it to fruition is the reason I became a board member in the first place in 2013. This program will enable a renewable energy future and bring us closer to net zero."
"This solar installation on the Ranchlands Community Association, and many more like it, will help our community associations continue their important work – supporting and enhancing our neighbourhoods – while building a lower carbon future, and taking action to build more resilient communities," said Ward 2 City Councillor Jennifer Wyness.