Opposition leader pushing for more energy efficiency

By Chad Klassen
December 4, 2015 - 4:19pm Updated: December 4, 2015 - 5:39pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been a year since Ben Giudici and his team at Riverside Energy Systems installed 40 solar panels on the roof of the Campus Activity Centre at TRU, and there have been great results so far. 

"The system has actually produced a little bit more energy than we predicted it would. The fact that it has excellent sun exposure on this roof top has made quite a big difference," says Guicidi, whose company is in the process of installing solar panels for the city at West Highlands Park in Aberdeen.

In the past 12 months, these solar panels have produced around 12,500 kilowatt hours, the equivalent of a year's worth of energy for a single family home. 

The energy produced is converted into electricity that flows into the Activity Centre. 

"As the sun produces electricity, the building will use it as required, and it'll flow out to all the loads that need it," says Giudici. "Should there be a surplus, the energy would flow to other locations on campus."

Opposition leader John Horgan met with Riverside Energy Systems today at TRU, getting a first-hand look at the innovation happening in Kamloops. The visit is part of Horgan's PowerBC plan, pledging province-wide retrofits to be more energy efficient.

Horgan says BC Hydro's forecasts have shown a decline in demand the last three years. He believes the Site C dam project, approved by the provincial government last December, is not necessary. 

"Rather than spend $9 billion on energy we don't need today, why not invest a modest amount of that money in new technologies and more jobs in more parts of B.C.," says Horgan. 

Horgan isn't ruling out cancelling the project if elected in 2017. 

Meanwhile, Giudici says hydroelectricity is vital for the future of B.C. energy, but says the cost of hydro is going up, while solar is going down. He would like to see solar power integrated into BC Hydro's future, so that a project like Site C isn't needed.

"Renewables actually complement hydroelectricity systems very nicely," says Giudici. "I think we're at an exciting point in B.C., where we're beginning to catch on to how solar and wind and other renewables can contribute and actually enhance the performance of our existing energy infrastructure." 

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