Tapping into the Sun
Redeemer's Solar Panel Array Officially Opens
2 min. read
September 12, 2011

Redeemer ceremonially “flipped the switch” on its new 131kw photovoltaic (PV) solar power system this morning, the last major project in a campus building program funded in part by the federal government’s Knowledge in Infrastructure (KIP ) program. This project has been planned for several years. The solar panel system is the last of more than 25 projects that have been funded through Industry Canada as part of KIP . Redeemer received grants for 50% of the cost of nearly $6 million worth of capital projects. The remaining costs have been covered through Redeemer’s annual capital budget and by donations. On hand to mark the completion of the project were David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale (ASFW), Ted McMeekin, MPP for ADFW and John van de Vegt, general manager of ARISE Technologies, the Waterloo-based company that manufactured and installed the panels. They were joined by President Hubert Krygsman and Bill van Staalduinen, Vice President, Advancement at Redeemer. Redeemer’s solar array extends along the entire roof of the Academic Building. The long, flat design of Redeemer’s roofline, and the lack of tall buildings surrounding the campus, make it an ideal location for this technology. According to ARISE’s van de Vegt, Redeemer’s system is “one of the first and one of the largest of its kind in the area.” The $1-million, 131-kilowatt PV solar system will generate up to 150,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, accounting for roughly 10 per cent of Redeemer’s overall energy usage. Through the provincial Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, the energy generated will be pumped back into the provincial power grid at a premium. That will allow Redeemer to recoup the cost of the installation within about 10 years. The life expectancy of the solar array is between 20-25 years. But as President Krygsman points out, Redeemer’s involvement with the project is not driven primarily by the economics. “For us, it’s the principle of renewable energy, and the desire to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.” Redeemer is grateful to the federal government and its support community for providing the resources necessary to complete these projects. “This is a wonderful example of what happens when community partners – in this case the federal and provincial governments, ARISE, our Physical Plant staff and our supporters – work together for a common goal,” notes van Staalduinen. “We wish to thank all our partners for helping to see this project through.” The project will go live when all the panels are installed. The recent wet weather has played havoc with construction schedules, but the ceremony held today so that Mr. Sweet’s contribution on behalf of the federal government could be recognized before he returns to Ottawa for the opening of parliament.

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