Switching On Private or Community-Based Solar Projects

Private and Com Solar3

The benefits of solar power are compelling: environmental protection, economic growth, job creation, diversity of fuel supply and rapid deployment, as well as the global potential for technology transfer and innovation. Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited (HSAL) served as a Project Manager for several solar farm developments in Ontario and was responsible for project development, project finance and project siting.

Solar power is a great idea, so the question remains: how do you make it happen? We recommend the following steps:

  1. Determine the scale of the desired solar development
  2. Develop strategic partnerships
  3. Identify and narrow funding options
  4. Complete site selection and decide the tenure arrangement
  5. Proceed with regulatory approvals

Why choose solar power? Improvements in solar technology have increased dramatically in the past few years. These changes are favourable to municipalities looking to implement solar technologies. Approval processes are straightforward and simple, due to the relatively low environmental impacts from solar installations. Photovoltaic solar cells have long-term reliability and low maintenance costs.

Municipal owned solar power projects can meet community needs, achieve clean energy generation and create a revenue source for the local community. There are various ways that a municipality can host solar projects — from approving private development to municipal community-based solar power initiatives that involve cooperatives or partnerships with developers, First Nations and utilities.

(Note: This article is based on one initially published in HSAL’s Social and Environmental Assessment Bulletin, Summer, 2008.)

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