Cranbrook shows flare for solar

Council endorses city to become a solar community.

Cranbrook has joined 32 other B.C. municipalities in registering as a solar community.

The commitment with SolarBC, a program run by the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association and sponsored by the B.C. Government, means Cranbrook has pledged to work towards becoming more solar friendly.

On Monday, November 19, city council approved a memorandum of understanding with SolarBC, and start work December 1 on improving opportunities for Cranbrook residents to use solar energy.

Under the agreement, the city has pledged to hook up the existing solar collectors at the Canadian Rockies International Airport; add signage to educate the public about the solar hot water system at the airport; provide information to the public about provincial government rebates for solar hot water installations; and tell the public about solar energy at community events and festivals.

Already, the city has amended its zoning bylaw to allow the installation of solar energy devices; installed solar-powered street lights and water sprinkler timers in a location where grid power was not available; and signed the B.C. Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation.

Under the regulation, all new homes built in Cranbrook must be capable of installing a solar hot water system if the new homeowner desires. That means there must be space on the roof for solar collectors, the roof must be able to bear the weight of the collectors, and the home must meet conduit specifications for the system. The new regulation will mean construction of a new home will increase by between $200 and $500.

As a member of SolarBC, Cranbrook could be eligible for future funding programs and pilot projects for solar energy initiatives.

For more news from Monday’s city council meeting, see The Townsman’s issues throughout this week.