The McGregor Park Arena in Scarborough is set to attract not only hockey enthusiasts but also sunrays with its newly installed solar panels.
Scarborough Centre Councillor Michael Thompson, along with Jim Baxter, director of energy & strategic initiative at the city of Toronto, pulled the lever that officially launched the project on Nov. 12.
The arena will now host an array of solar panels that could potentially earn the city a hefty paycheque—once they pay for themselves.
Our organization believes strongly that this is what customers want and need.
— Jack Simpson, Toronto Hydro
“This is not just an energy savings initiative—it generates a return on the investments made,” said Baxter at the official launch event.
Baxter’s confidence in the money-making potential of the panels stems from a 20-year plan to supply electricity from renewable energy projects as part of Ontario Power Authority’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program.
The panels are expected to pay for themselves in eight or so years, while the contract will last for 20 years in total, meaning the city’s various solar arrays could bring $16 million to city coffers.
Baxter says there are another 12 panel arrays that the city hopes to install in addition to the 10 already in the works on buildings like Mimico Arena, Police College on Birmingham St., and the Agincourt Park Arena.
The McGregor Park location is the most recent location where solar panels are being installed, with 70 percent of them already positioned on the roof. About 390 panels will make up the complete installation.
The project is part of a joint City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro program to install solar panels around the city.
“This is an important partnership for Toronto Hydro. … As our electricity demand continues to exceed supply and the air quality deteriorates, renewable energy solutions that can supplement power from electricity grids are becoming increasingly important,” Jack Simpson, manager of capacity planning & generation at Toronto Hydro, said at the event.
“Our organization believes strongly that this is what customers want and need.”
The photovoltaic (PV) solar panels will be connected to the Toronto Hydro electrical grid, and the energy produced will then be redirected to its 715,000 Toronto customers in Toronto.
“We are the solar panel, the PV capital of the universe,” joked Scarborough Centre councillor Michael Thompson. “This community is playing its part in our effort to create a sustainable energy future for our residents.”
Thompson said the partnership with Toronto Hydro also provides more green jobs for locals. Eclipsall Energy Corp., the maker of the solar panels, is a Scarborough-based company and some 60 percent of the components are made in Ontario.
“The greening of our city, the greening of our world is clearly a responsibility of all of us working together to ensure that we understand the benefits, we understand the job opportunities, we understand the impact with respect to the attention that’s needed for us to save our environment,” Thompson said.
“All of us have a role to play.”
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