Mountain Parks Electric solar project now powering Fraser Valley
Mountain Parks Electric hosted a community celebration in honor of the completion of the Sifers Solar Array in Fraser, a project estimated to save the county’s electric cooperative members $3 million over 20 years.
On Thursday, Mountain Parks Electric board members and staff, as well as community, gathered at the one megawatt solar array project on County Road 5 to cut the ribbon and announce its connection to the grid.
Overall, the project will power roughly 300 homes in the Fraser Valley.
“This is a big day for Mountain Park’s member-consumers,” said Mark Johnston, general manager at Mountain Parks Electric. “Their power is becoming increasingly renewable each year, … but this is the first large renewable project that we have been able to locate in the Fraser Valley, and it helps support the Town of Fraser’s Sustainability Plan.”
Johnston said the project was driven by members’ desire to expand sustainable energy sources and lower costs. Ultimately, the power generated by the solar array will come at a slightly lower price than what it gets from Tri-State, the wholesale power supplier.
Constructed by Interconnection Systems Incorporated, the 3600 solar panels stand two feet taller than any other project the company has built, according to its president Wayne Williams.
The height, along with rotating panels, will help the system continue operating during the snowy season.
Christened the Sifers Solar Array, the project is named after former general manager and long-time employee Tom Sifers, who worked on the project over the past two years.
“It’s a tradition in co-ops to honor employees by naming projects after them … and I feel very honored,” Sifers said.
Following the ribbon cutting, the celebration moved to the Foundry for a community toast featuring locally brewed megawatt ale from the Fraser River Beer Co and brats. Johnston also shared more information about other Mountain Parks Electric projects in the works.
Other recent renewable energy projects include the Granby Dam, the Whiskey Hill solar array in Walden, the Town of Grand Lake’s micro-hydro recovery project and power purchased from more than 150 other solar projects throughout the cooperative’s service area.
In total, just around one-third of Mountain Parks Electric’s power supply is renewable energy.
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