Solar Power Initiatives
City Hall Solar
The solar array at City Hall was installed in 2017 and produces roughly 3% of the power demand for the building. The original project was established for demonstration purposes to test the technology in our geographic area and to measure the impacts of snow on the solar panels. It was a program run by Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). NAIT had the solar panels installed on the roof and City Hall staff volunteered to brush snow off of them each time the snow fell.
The solar array consists of 5.92 KW of solar, a similar size as you would see on a typical residential home. The dashboard indicates the power generation that the system produces as well as historical data trends. The results have proven that solar is a viable option for the Grande Prairie area. Now that the study with NAIT is over, the solar panels continue to generate power for City Hall. The solar panels help the City of Grande Prairie reduce their environmental impacts and help them continue to reach their targets of lowering emissions.
Solar Panels at City Hall
Grande Prairie Bus Barn Solar
Solar power is abundant from March to October and excess solar energy is stored in the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) once load requirements have been fulfilled.
The vision for the BESS is to allow renewable energy generated by the solar system to be stored and discharged when the electric bus fleet is connected for a charging session. This allows the electric bus fleet to be charged or partially charged from the stored energy of the solar system. The net result is that the electric bus fleet uses a reduced amount of energy from the grid.
The solar array was designed to generate enough power to supply the connected loads (5 electric transit buses), approximately 5 kW for system loads and 27 kW for a 50% bus charging event.
The BESS uses rechargeable batteries capable of storing 600 kWh of electricity (equivalent to three complete bus charges). When the BESS is fully charged and the power produced is higher than existing load requirements, excess energy is returned to the grid as energy credits (kWh).
The transit solar installation consists of 480 modules rated at 400 W DC (direct current) and an AC (alternating current) power nameplate of 149 kW of solar panels are capable of producing 190 MWh/year of energy. These panels can be found on the top of the City Service Centre.