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The Community Excellence Awards recognize UBCM members that exhibit excellence in meeting the purposes of local government and demonstrate successful pathways for others to follow. This week we are pleased to highlight the District of Hudson’s Hope, our 2018 winner in the “Service Delivery” category, for its successful incorporation of solar power into the community’s electrical grid.

The District’s project takes advantage of the BC Hydro Grid-Tie Net Metering Program, which allows customers to generate some of their own electricity while still allowing for regular electrical provision from BC Hydro.

This initiative resulted in the installation of 1,550 solar panels at nine different municipal sites, with a total generating capacity of 500 kilowatts. The solar electricity generated by the panels first powers the specific sites themselves (including municipal buildings and a sewer treatment system), with excess power fed into the BC Hydro grid and recorded as a credit applied to the District’s electrical account.

With Hudson’s Hope’s electrical bill roughly tripling between the years 2000 and 2017, they estimate savings of $75,000 per year and $3 million over 30 years with the new solar-electric infrastructure in place. 

The project is fundamentally community-driven. It was initiated by a resourceful local resident, built and installed by two locally-based companies, and worked on by seven local high school students, at least one of whom is now considering pursuing a career in the emerging industry of renewable energy.

The electricity generation data for each site is also presented on a publicly viewable ‘kiosk’ screen, making the project accessible and education for all members of the community.

Looking to replicate the successful service delivery of the Hudson’s Hope Solar Project, surrounding municipalities are interested in adopting the same practice of electrical self-generation and have already reached out to the District for direction.

The “Excellence in Service Delivery” category acknowledges UBCM members that provide effective service delivery in a proactive manner, demonstrate benefit to the community, and utilize performance measures, benchmarks and standards to ensure sustainable service provision.