Let’s make the Cowichan Valley the ‘Solar Capital of BC’.
That’s the objective of One Cowichan, Rosalie Sawrie told Ladysmith Council at their July 6 meeting. “Our goal is to make the Cowichan Valley a really great place to live, work and play,” she said, adding that doing that means behaving in an environmentally responsible way by cutting our use of fossil fuels.
“We really have no choice but to move forward with alternative forms of energy.”
Sawrie said all indicators are trending up when it comes to the price of energy, including electricity drawn from the grid, which BC Hydro forecasters have projected going up by 28 percent between 2013 and 2018.
At the same time the cost of switching to solar is going down dramatically. The per watt cost of a solar panel has dropped from US $101 to 61 cents. That makes a switch to solar a good financial and economic choice.
Not only from an individual consumer’s perspective, but for communities as well.
“Over the next decade, Cowichan will send away over a billion dollars for energy,” Sawrie said, citing a recent report put together by One Cowichan. “Part of that money that could instead be invested locally, creating economic activity and jobs here at home.”
But to get there local levels of government have to get on board. “Local government really has a role to play,” she told council, noting that the federal and B.C. governments are still promoting fossil fuels as major energy sources and economic drivers.
The Town of Ladysmith should be setting an example with initiatives like using solar power at its facilities, and switching to electric powered vehicles. As well, municipalities should:
• Build solar standards into roof designs and building codes, and ensure new construction optimizes use of electric vehicles;
• Create incentives for solar energy use;
• Partner with local financial institutions, developing sources of funding to help homeowners overcome the initial cost of going solar.
One Cowichan will be bringing the go solar message to the public July 23, when it will host Local Clean Energy, Lessons from the Field in the Quamichan Room at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Center, 200 Cowichan Way, Duncan. The event is free.
It will feature Judith Sayers, former Chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, presently with Clean Energy BC; Dawson Creek City Councillor, Cheryl Shuman and Bob Haugen, Executive Director of Canadian Solar Cities Project.