Essa shows more solar support
By Brad Pritchard Simcoe.Com Jan 22, 2013 –
ESSA – A handful of rooftop solar panel projects being proposed in Essa have gotten the thumb of approval from council.
Three of the projects are being tabled by the Simcoe County District School Board for rooftop arrays at Angus Morrison Public School, Baxter Central Public School and Pine River Public School.
The owners of a farm on County Road 56 are looking to build a 100kW project on the roof of their barn. The final application is for rooftop solar panels at a storage facility in Utopia.
Council threw its support behind the projects at its Jan. 16 meeting.
The projects are now going through the approval process for Ontario’s feed in tarriff (FIT) program.
In mid-December, the province started taking in new applications for the second round of the program. The application window for small FIT projects (10 kW to 500 kW) closed last Friday (Jan. 18).
Since the program is a provincial matter, municipalities cannot approve or deny solar energy projects.
However, following changes to the renewable energy program, municipalities can now choose to support a project through a resolution. A project that receives a municipality’s support is granted two points in their application, which weighs into the province’s overall approval decision.
Prior to voting to support the projects, a brief public meeting was held to give residents a chance to share their thoughts on renewable energy.
Mayor Terry Dowdall used the opportunity to restate his preference for rooftop projects since they don’t interfere with agricultural land.
In December, council also chose to support two roof mounted solar power projects. One is from the Essa and District Agricultural Society at its site in Ivy, and the other from Glen Whiteside, who owns a farm on the 5th Sideroad just north of Alliston.