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LINKLETTER, P.E.I. – Linkletter is taking steps to reduce the community’s carbon footprint.
By the end of March, the small municipality just west of Summerside hopes to have an operational 56-panel solar grid, with a capacity of about 19,000 kilowatt hours, to power the Linkletter Community Complex.
“The work on the footing and trenching for the panels has already begun. The panels will be in the field behind the centre,” said Mayor David Buell.
Buell took the mayoral office in last fall’s municipal election.
Linkletter’s deputy mayor, Trevor Callbeck, said the system should supply about 90 per cent of the centre’s power.
“Having this installed is a great idea," Callbeck said. "Hopefully, the money that we’ll save will allow us to do new things in the community.”
Linkletter has about 320 residents.
The centre is currently heated by electric heating and heat pumps, but there is also a back-up diesel generator should the need arise.
Recently, the municipality had an energy audit completed. Based on the results, it was decided the solar energy route was the best option.
“Even as a small area, there are still things we can do to offset our carbon footprint,” said Buell.
The cost of the panels is $46,000 plus HST, about half of which will be funded by the province.
The project was awarded to M.B. Eye Electrical in Charlottetown after council looked at different price points.
Matt Eye, owner and operator of M.B. Eye, said there is a growing demand for solar and green energy.
“For us, the (solar) industry has about doubled every year,” he said.
“Demand shows that people and communities care about different energy options.”
Residential installation of solar panels accounts for about 50 per cent of Eye's business. He said payback for residential units is about 15 years.
“I’ve been in business for about nine years," he said. "I’ve been promoting solar for just as long because I have a passion for it.”
Recently he installed a 200-panel unit in Charlottetown and is working with a community that requires a 30-panel unit and another that also requires a 200-panel system.
Eye said while the demand and interest are high, it’s important people and companies do their research before making the investment.
“I always tell people to do their homework before they commit. There’s a lot of misinformation out there," he said. "There’s a lot of people who think it’s going to be $5,000 and then after an inspection and meeting with a client it turns out to be $25,000. So, it’s a large investment but it works in the long run.”