Alberta installs solar power systems

July 3, 2006 at 8:28 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, July 2 (UPI) -- The Canadian province of Alberta has kicked off a project to install solar panels on 20 municipal buildings.

"These installations will demonstrate to Alberta homeowners, businesses and municipal governments the technical viability of grid-connected solar (photovoltaic) systems, which are well-established elsewhere in the world," Edmonton Councilor Karen Leibovici said as part of the official announcement, according to a report by the Environmental News Service on Friday.

The $315,000 project will outfit each building with a 1 kilowatt system -- enough power to cover about 20 percent of the typical home's annual needs. Canada's Green Municipal Fund provided the money, according to the report.

The Alberta city of Medicine Hat, which is also Canada's sunniest city, was the first municipality to activate its new solar system. "At noon on June 23, Shelley Ross of the Medicine Hat Public Library pulled a breaker to activate the solar (photovoltaic) system on the library roof," the news service reported.

The Medicine Hat municipality has also set aside an extra $896,000 for renewable energy projects, according to the report.

Oil has been a key factor in the Alberta economy for over 50 years, and the province's oil sands are expected to boost its oil production to 2 million barrels a day by 2012, according to the report.

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