Council concerned as solar projects in The Nation put on hold
The sun doesn't appear to be shining on two solar projects in The Nation announced last summer.
Municipal politicians admitted they are "concerned and worried" about the future of the solar projects, which were to be located on the rooftop of the arena in St-Isidore and the municipal garage in Fournier.
The solar project at the arena was put on hold when the community centre was forced to close its doors in January for 10 days due to structural problems.
The 40-year-old facility was closed to the public earlier this month after rot was discovered in several main supports during a $2-million renovation and expansion project.
The Nation chief administrative officer Mary McCuaig noted engineers decided the worst of the columns could be repaired quickly to make the building safe for public occupancy, with the rest of the work slated for the end of the season.
The arena was supposed to host the municipality's first solar project, but as a result of the structural damage to the facility, the town is now left with panels it has bought and paid for and can't install.
"Of course this is worrisome," said Mayor Francois St. Amour. "We're certainly not pleased with this situation."
He said engineering firm Genivar, which inspects the arena building every five years, will have to evaluate the situation and determine whether or not the $600,000 project can proceed as planned.
"We need to find out if the panels can be installed before or after the repairs are made," St. Amour noted.
As the solar project at the arena has already received approval from the Ontario Power Authority and Hydro One, which guarantees the project, the municipality only has until the end of April to install the panels.
After this date, The Nation risks having to pay penalties to the province.
As for the project at the municipal garage in Fournier, a study conducted by SolPowered Energy concluded that the garage is not eligible for the initial project. The project at the garage has not obtained approval from to date.
St. Amour said he is also concerned about Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde's recent announcement that there is no more room on the regional power grid for any new electricity generators.
"All of the current capacity is either being used now or has been reserved for future use," Lalonde said, noting that only those projects that have been approved by the Ontario Power Authority will be given permission to connect to the grid.
"All other applications will have to wait until there is more power available on the grid," he commented.