EDITORIAL: Looking up at solar power

The power from the sun could soon provide some of Summerland’s energy, if a solar project proves feasible.

The power from the sun could soon provide some of Summerland’s energy, if a solar project proves feasible.

The municipality is considering harnessing solar energy or another alternative power to offset some of the community’s power needs.

At present, Summerland is dependent on hydroelectric power, purchased from FortisBC, to meet the community’s electrical needs.

While this structure has provided a power supply, there are concerns when all electricity comes from one source.

For instance, when Fortis’s electrical rates increase, the municipality must pass this increase on to its customers. Customers are not set to go elsewhere for their electrical needs, nor is the municipality in a position to easily switch power suppliers. If rates increase significantly, the effects on the electrical customers are noticeable.

Generating energy using solar power or another alternative energy method would supplement the electricity Summerland receives from FortisBC.

With more than 2,000 hours of sunshine each year, Summerland is well positioned for solar power.

Other parts of the world, receiving much less direct sunlight than Summerland, have already been able to tap into solar power.

Solar energy is considered a clean power supply. There are no harmful emissions from the generation of solar power.

And, as alternative energy technologies improve, less time is required for a generating facility to pay for itself than in past years.

However, while solar-generated electricity has advantages, a solar generating project needs to be studied carefully.

There are costs involved in constructing, operating and maintaining a power-generating facility, and these costs must be considered.