Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tour of Kimberley's Sun Mine

It was worth the rainy day tour of Kimberley’s Sun Mine, just to see the solar panels moving this way and that to catch the best rays.  The 5 hectare area of panels was reminiscent of a field of sunflowers all gently turning their head towards the sun.  Despite the grey overcast sky and steady pouring rain we were informed the panels still capture 50% of what they might on a sunny day. 

Looking at the enormous area of contaminated grass-land surrounding the tailings ponds, the legacy of Cominco’s Sullivan Mine heyday, it is easy to imagine how this area could now become a leader in production of solar energy.  There already is the capacity for five times more energy to be produced should funding become available for the panels.  Much of the infrastructure is already in place. 

The panels are currently producing approximately $750 a day in electricity, having been in full operation since the spring of this year.  Paying down a mortgage and providing Kimberley with a small $50,000 per annum income quickly takes care of profit.  However, the panels have a 25 year life expectancy and all loans will be paid off well before that period making further potential a real and exciting possibility.

 Seeing the size of the panels approximately half an average 1970’s Cranbrook house, one had to wonder why more advantage is not taken of this technology.  Each panel produces enough power to provide two and half houses with their daily power needs.  The answer at this time, is cost of the panels.  However, with steady advancements in the technology and cost of production , it surely is only a matter of time before the use of this energy source becomes widespread.

Europe is already ahead of North America with home owners being encouraged and subsidized to install panels and new commercial enterprises being legislated to do so.
It was interesting to watch the panels move and they had many different opinions as to which was the best angle for energy capture!

each panel has two pyramid shaped sensors to determine best angle to the sun's energy

    click to enlarge

Tours of the Sun Mine have been advertised and will likely be advertised in the future as there has been much interest.  Current tours are fully subscribed.  A spin-off effect of the enterprise has been the tourism interest and yet another source of potential tour income for the destination of Kimberley.
Go to:
for the possibility of future tours.

One cannot help but envision  Cranbrook's collection of old dump sites as future potential for more solar farms.  The area adjacent to the Community Forest, the area just north of Cranbrook and adjacent to the Kimberley highway both might have possibility.  Maybe Node Engineering Corporation, who is reported to have been looking for property in the area would be interested if it has not already been suggested by the City.

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