Students of solar systems

COTR signs agreement with Kimberley on Sun Mine research

  • Aug. 1, 2014 6:00 a.m.

CAROLYN GRANT

A new agreement will see the City of Kimberley and the College of the Rockies collaborate on research opportunities and student training at the SunMine.

The City of Kimberley has a number of partners and funders in its innovative SunMine project, including Teck, EcoSmart, the Columbia Basin Trust and more.

Another partner on board will be the College of the Rockies.

“The idea is that as we demonstrate Kimberley’s viability for solar generation, we need people to work in the industry,” said City CAO Scott Sommerville. “The College has a small solar component in their electrical program and they are looking to expand. We thought the SunMine would be a great place to bring students for tours and research.”

The College of the Rockies and the City of Kimberley have an opportunity to collaborate on research opportunities, says Mayor Ron McRae. It’s not a financial agreement, more like a memorandum of understanding, he said.

The College of the Rockies, having earned eligibility for research grants through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), can provide access to funding opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to the project.

“The College looks forward to working with the City of Kimberley and EcoSmart in exploring training and applied research opportunities together,” said College of the Rockies President and CEO David Walls.

“College of the Rockies will be seeking opportunities to engage our students in projects like SunMine. Due to the investment in trades capital funding over the past few years by the Provincial government, we have had the opportunity to expand our curriculum to include solar technology for some of our programs.”

Walls said the Sun Mine will provide opportunities for experiential learning for these programs.

“The SunMine will be the largest solar facility west of Ontario and has the potential to become a key industry in the area.  The College is committed to pursuing joint priorities and combining strengths, expertise and resources with the City of Kimberley and EcoSmart as this project comes to fruition,” Walls said.

With over 4,000 solar modules generating 1.05 Megawatts of energy, SunMine will be Western Canada’s largest solar project. SunMine is situated on reclaimed land on the former Teck Sullivan Mine concentrator site. Construction is underway and plans are to be producing power by early 2015.