Above the streets and atop Genesis Place lay hundreds of solar panels collecting sun to help power the recreation centre during the day and not just prevent emissions, but help pay for its own construction. 

Airdrie will soon be the proud owner of Canada's largest municipal rooftop solar system after visiting the City of Leduc and seeing their solar panel system.

Chris Reason, project manager for Capital Projects at the City of Airdrie, describes just how many solar panels will be gathering sunlight energy for Genesis Place.

"3,800 modules will be installed on top of Genesis place. It's a phenomenal amount of panels if you're new to the solar world. We've gone up to Leduc and we've looked at their solar panel system and we fell in love with it and we absolutely had to have our own."

Reason says that the energy is not just financially responsible, but also helps on reducing harmful emissions.

"We're expecting the system to produce 1.59-gigawatt hours of electricity which is an equivalent to 220 house average households. The electricity bill will be reduced by $80,000 per year at Genesis Place. If you can relate that to emissions, we will reduce 1,000 tonnes in the first year, which is equivalent to 275 cars off the road."

The system in Leduc will not quite equal the vastness of Airdrie's new system.

"They had in the vicinity of 2,500 solar modules on their roof. Although it was beautiful, we are now the largest municipal rooftop solar system."

Reason says that it's everyone's responsibility to try and do what they can to help the environment.

"It's a lot of work, but first and foremost, (we are trying to be) champions of the environment. We're only borrowing (the) earth so let's take advantage and save it as much as we can."

Despite the huge amount of panels already installed on the roof, Reason says more are to come.

"Currently we have 2,200 dollar panels installed on the roof. Again, 3,800 panels are going to be installed. We're looking at the end of April completion."

Reason also says that construction has been moving along smoothly.

"No (hiccups) at all. Enmax and CBI Solar are true partners on this project and they've done an outstanding job. It's very positive."

Reason describes where all the solar energy will be going and how it will be distributed.

"The majority will be going to Genesis Place and in the peak times of the day that we're producing in access of what the facility can use, we will sell it back to the grid, and that's actually how it will pay for itself in the end," explains Reason. "During the day, of course, it will be. During the evening and the night time, when the sun sets, we will be dependent on the grid power."


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