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Sterling Village is home to approximately 1,200 residents – a small community setting a great example with the use of solar power.
Mayor Trevor Lewington said that before adopting solar power the village used to spend about $30,000 a year to run public infrastructure, such as the village office and street lights, but now they are making money – about $8,000 in 2022.
“Instead of an expense we now have a revenue stream, so it’s $40,000 a year we can invest in things like our volunteer fire department, or pools, or parks, so for us, it was a no brainer.”
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Jim Seeley owns an installation company called Solar Seeker. He said that the popularity of green energy source is increasing.
“As electricity prices go up, everyone wants to know more about it,” Sealy said.
There are government grants and incentives to help people make the transition, he said, and it doesn’t take long for the system to pay off.
“On the average home, if you can make yourself net-zero, your payback is about seven to eight years.”
Some residents in Stirling are following the village’s lead and installing their own panels to cut costs.
“We probably won’t pay any electric bills this year,” said resident John Ellingson. He installed his panels in 2021 and says the initial cost was worth it.
“We have a 4.8-kilowatt system, so that’s 4,800 watts and it cost us about $12,000 to put in. Now there’s a government grant and they’ll pay up to $5,000.”
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The village has also created its own energy market called Ridge Utilities which serves Southern Albertans.
“We are able to get higher market rates in the summer, for example, when we are exporting more than we can consume and we can drop those rates back down when we consume more than we generate. are,” Lewington said. “So we’re able to do a little bit of price arbitrage to maximize our revenue stream.”
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