The mayor, city councillors and media gathered on the rooftop of Canadian Rockies International Airport Monday to get a look at the newly operational solar water heater. The event was to celebrate Cranbrook becoming the 33rd solar community in B.C. under SolarBC.
Guy Dauncey, founder of BC Sustainable Energy Association, which operates SolarBC, was at the event to talk about the benefits of solar energy.
Dauncey said the solar revolution is arriving around the world and solar communities, which now include Cranbrook, are laying foundation for a solar future.
Dauncey did note that it will take longer for that to be realized in Canada, as electricity is relatively cheap here when compared to a place like Europe.
The City of Cranbrook has been working towards a number of solar initiatives including amendments to the zoning bylaw to allow installation of solar energy devices and signing on to the B.C. Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation.
The airport heater unit has been in operation since late last year. It’s made up of a number of panels. On the outside large panes magnify and direct the sun’s heat over a series of copper pipes. Water is pumped through the pipes from the first floor of the airport, goes through the system which heats it and then flows back down and is used to heat water before it goes through the boiler. The system turns off when it gets too cold, as it was on Monday morning, so as not to cool the water before it enters the boiler. During the summer however, the hot water boiler is rarely used thanks to the system.
On Monday night, Dauncey gave a presentation at the College of the Rockies for the public.
For more information on SolarBC’s initiatives, go to www.solarbc.ca.