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St. Clements Arena hosts open house to showcase solar power

The Township of Wellesley is inviting residents to look on the bright side at an open house showcasing newly installed energy-producing solar panels at the St. Clements Arena.

On Saturday, the township, in collaboration with Community Energy Development Co-op (CEDC), are hosting the free barbecue and open house at the arena from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to share the success of the solar panels and promote clean energy.

“It is basically to bring awareness,” said Brad Voisin, Wellesley’s director of recreation and facilities. “Look up. There are people who drive by who don’t even know they are there.”

The event isn’t just about showing off the new panels, though. CEDC president Brian Unrau, says the open house is about informing the public about all different kinds of renewable energy resources and giving residents the opportunity to invest in a green future.

“There will be a ribbon cutting with some dignitaries involved with the township around noon. We will also have a couple of electric cars on display so people can see where technology is going and we will have some displays talking about fossil fuels and the change that is needed there,” he said, adding that attendees will also learn about what they can do at home to reduce their carbon footprint. “We will also have some area conservation displays there where people can look to change lighting for more efficient (alternatives) and have a look at lighting management systems.

“This is an opportunity for local people to put their investments where their values are and support clean energy.”

In an area with plenty of farms and agriculture-based business, Unrau says the Township of Wellesley is the perfect place to start the spread of solar panels.

“There is an opportunity for agricultural areas to use their large roof spaces to install their own solar panels to power their own facilities,” said Voisin, adding that the St. Clements Arena roof is ideal for panel installation. “It is great because it is a steel roof and steel lasts a long time without having to see repairs.”

The new solar panels aren’t limited to the arena. The panels are just some of the many already, or soon to be, installed within the township.

“We were approached by a company that was looking for space to lease to put the panels on,” he said. “Our public works building in Crosshill and the Linwood Community Centre are covered in panels as well. Wellesley arena and Community Centre are next. We want to stay up to date. The big thing is to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our hydro bills any way we can.”

As well as promoting clean and renewable energy resources, the panels will also make some money for the township, according to Voisin.

“We are going to be bringing in a yearly amount. I am not absolutely sure what that amount is yet, but it is substantial,” he said ahead of the open house. “We didn’t put any money out towards this, and it is going to bring revenue into the township for future facilities that we wouldn’t have without doing this.”

For more information about the open house and the new solar panels, visit the township website at www.wellesley.ca.

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