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Feds power Colwood's green plan

$3.9 million in funding to boost green municipal, residential projects

Times Colonist, January 24, 2011

Colwood's community solar-power project got a $3.9 million shot in the arm Monday as the federal government committed the money from the Clean Energy Fund.

The funding, to be used to develop a multi-faceted plan to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings and reduce emissions from existing buildings, is part of Ottawa's drive to improve economic and environmental performance and support high-quality jobs.

"Investing in clean energy technologies stimulates the growth of a domestic clean energy industry, creating high-quality jobs for Canadians," said Gary Lunn, federal minister of state for sport.

The solar project includes retrofitting municipal buildings with solar energy, working with developers to build new model energy-efficient buildings, working with homeowners to retrofit up to 1,000 homes, and installing electric vehicle-charging infrastructure throughout the city.

"We are aiming to help retrofit 1,000 Colwood homes with solar hot water and other clean energy upgrades over the next three years," said Mayor David Saunders. "Solar Colwood incentives will cover a significant portion of the cost of installation of solar hot water heating. Our mission is to help residents and business owners achieve significant savings on their energy bills at a time when costs are on the rise."

Ottawa has developed a suite of programs to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels in the next 10 years.

"Moving forward aggressively with investments in clean energy technologies will help us reach our target and balance our need for energy with our need to protect the environment," said Lunn.

The three-year program will focus mainly on solar thermal hot water heating, though it will also include emerging technologies like ductless split heat pumps, Smart Home/Smart Grid technologies, energy efficient smart appliances, solar photovoltaics, geo-exchange, district energy solutions and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The project is expected to provide steady employment for between eight and 12 full-time installers and several energy assessors, as well as additional work for contractors, as homeowners choose to take advantage of other energy retrofit opportunities, like new windows.

The first project under the plan will be the installation of a solar hot water system at Colwood's Municipal Fire Hall.

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