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Recent installation creates largest PV Solar system in Antigonish

The panels being installed at 227 Main Street.
The panels being installed at 227 Main Street. - Contributed
ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Solar PV systems are one of the ways that the province of Nova Scotia is responding to climate change. PV solar systems provide low cost electricity, are better for the environment and increasingly provide more jobs for Nova Scotia.

In August of this year, the largest PV Solar system in Antigonish was installed on a commercial building at 227 Main St. The building, owned by Issam Kadray, is home to several businesses, including an optical center and a tanning centre.

The PV (photovoltaic) solar system installed on the flat roof of the building is made up of 120 solar panels, each with power output ratings of 345 watts. The 120 solar panels create a system capable of producing 41 kilowatts of electricity, according to Brian Rose, president of Appleseed Energy, whose company installed the system.  “There’s a 100 panel system on the Municipal Building in Antigonish that we put on, but this one is bigger” said Rose. 

The building was chosen because of its structure and location. The large flat roof and lack of shade offered an ideal surface for solar panels. “Nobody will even see it because it’s on top of the roof,” said Rose.

Appleseed Energy is the second-largest installer of solar panels in Nova Scotia, according to Efficiency Nova Scotia. Rose estimates that the company has installed about 300 other systems in the province.

Rose noted that solar systems are good for commercial buildings. “People don’t realize that if you own a commercial building, you can put in solar. It’s a good way of investing your money. If power rates go up that makes your investment that much better.  And they always go up.”

Photovoltaic (PV) solar uses the photons of light to create electricity. “As soon as light hits the panel, it starts making power. Sunlight is the most effective form of light to generate electricity. In the Main Street building, the power goes directly into the grid of the building, not into a battery. said Rose. If more energy is produced than is used by the building, the energy goes back for a credit.

According to Rose, most systems now are grid type systems. “The only time it makes sense to go with a battery is if you are far away from the grid and can’t have Nova Scotia power.” 

Rose notes solar installations are getting more popular. “The current rebate for residential solar has put solar installation into another gear. It has helped out the whole industry and created a lot of jobs. Our company alone has hired seven extra people and added another truck and a trailer.” The rebate program, administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia, allows homeowners in Nova Scotia to apply for a 30-per-cent rebate on the installation of a Solar PV system on their home.

Renewable energy offers several benefits both for the environment and consumers. Solar energy reduces carbon footprints and provides electricity at a lower cost for consumers. Rose notes, “It’s like buying electricity rather than renting it. It’s an investment to get the product in place but then will provide electricity for at least 25 years. There’s a 25 year warranty on it. The average payback on the expenditure is 7-8 years for residential installations and 10-11 years for commercial installations. After that, it’s free.” 

By Anita Flowers

A view of the panels with St. F.X. in the background.
A view of the panels with St. F.X. in the background.

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