Coun. Sharolyn Sanchez, Mayor Mike Yargeau, Coun. Tyrone Muller and Penhold Multiplex manager Michael Szewczuk stand next to one of the 1,000-plus solar panels that will be installed on top of the multiplex. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Penhold Multiplex solar panel project underway

The Town of Penhold is taking a big step towards reducing its environmental footprint.

Over the next four weeks, more than 1,000 solar panels will be installed on top of the Penhold Multiplex.

“This project creates an opportunity for a green energy focus on an existing building reducing our carbon footprint while also reducing operating costs for our facility,” said Mayor Mike Yargeau.

“The estimated costs versus revenues for the system will see the town receiving energy savings and dollars within the first year of operation going forward.”

Yargeau said the Penhold Multiplex costs about $150,000 to operate each year.

“In total we’ll reduce that by about $45,000, then minus the cost of the panels themselves, which is about $33,000 a year, we’re looking at $11,000 we’ll save for the first year. Then that number will grow exponentially as the costs go down,” he said.

Penhold town council began investigating the benefits of solar power this past November to determine the optimum solar and cost efficient design for the multiplex.

Using a rebate from the Alberta Municipal Solar Program, offered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, council decided to move forward with the project in April.

“If this is successful … then we plan on doing more, but we’ll see. A lot of it hinges on the government grants that are there,” said Yargeau.

The solar panel project is estimated to produce 429,500 kilowatt hours in its first year, which is the same amount used by about 60 Albertan homes.

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