Housing corp going solar to reduce costs to tenants
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 17, 2019
As a way of helping tenants, Gabriel Housing Corporation (GHC), which is a Métis low income housing provider in Regina, has partnered with Mo’ Solar Company to go green with solar energy.
The initial discussions with SaskPower about the project started in October of 2018. The board of GHC then approved the project in December.
“We have been successfully operating in the City of Regina for nearly 40 years, and have delivered quality, affordable housing to hundreds of Regina families,” said Doug Moran, Chief Executive Officer of GHC in a press release. “Unfortunately, we have seen a surge in demand for our services as more and more families struggle with rising utility costs and the increasing costs to feed and clothe their loved ones. As an organization, we also need to find new and innovative ways to cover rising property, insurance and utility costs for operating our properties. So, this was a very natural progression for GHC.”
GHC’s new housing project at 3876 Rae Street was chosen to have the 16-kilowatt project of 40 solar panels on the roof. This location was chosen because it was originally built with energy efficiency in mind, there is no obstruction or shading from trees and it faces true south.
Construction of the project will take place over the next few weeks and will hopefully be completed by mid-August, but scheduling is dependent on SaskPower.
“It’s very sad to think that many of our clients have to contemplate between paying their power and natural gas bills, and feeding their kids. It’s not right, and our board and management team decided that something needed to be done. The sustainability of our organization’s future was at stake, so we’ve taken action,” said Moran.
Bradyn Parisian, owner Mo’ Solar, also sits on the board for GHC and wanted to be involved in the project as a way to secure a better future for people.
“It's one of those things where you build it to last 30, 35 plus years. I was really excited about building something that was going to deliver positive outcomes for an organization.That means something to me and also low-income families for decades to come,” said Parisian.
The Government of Saskatchewan will contribute roughly 20% of construction costs for the project, under their net metering rebate program.
GHC is looking to SaskPower and the Saskatchewan Government for virtual net metering for this project.
“Our mission is to lobby and eventually get SaskPower to allow for virtual net metering,” said Parisian. “So, what that means is now this project will come in under the net metering program of SaskPower that allows us to generate credit when we are producing more than we need to use when there are times of lower production so winter months.”
If that goes well, GHC then hopes to implement it to all 300 locations that it has.
“The goal is to role this out to our other multi-unit buildings so that we can eventually create a virtual net metering set up where we produce more credit than we need for our own common space uses to help offset and potentially etiolate power bills for our low income tenants,” said Parisian.