At the 2021 Blue Skies Awards, presented by the Parklands Airshed Management Zone (PAMZ), Lacombe County was recognized with an award for Environmental Stewardship.
This award recognizes the county’s long-time commitment to environmental stewardship, including the recent completion of the solar panel project.
“We are honoured to be recognized with a 2021 Blue Skies Award for our solar project, as well as many other environmental initiatives and activities that we have completed over the years,” said Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law. “We recognize the impact that organizations like PAMZ have on the health and environment in our region.”
Blue Skies Award recipients were recognized at the virtual awards ceremony on Clean Air Day, June 2, 2021.
These awards highlight achievements in technology use/innovation, environmental protection activities, public education/outreach.
The Solar Panel Project was in the works for several years.
This spring, the panels were installed on top of the Lacombe County Public Works building by Sky Fire Energy and went online in May 2021.
The 115 kilowatt-peak (kWp) system consists of 288 – 400 W solar panels and is estimated to produce 122,100 kWh of electricity in the first year, which equates to powering 17 Albertan homes for a year.
This will offset the county’s electricity usage between the administration and shop buildings by 17 per cent annually; and reduce the county’s overall carbon footprint by approximately 69.5 tonnes/year.
The county participated in a rebate program through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which will cover 30% of the project costs.
Through this rebate and the cost savings on electricity bills, the system is expected to have a return on investment within eight to nine years.
“A project such as this enshrines Lacombe County’s commitment to ensure a healthy environment for generations to come,” emphasized Reeve Law.
In 2013, Lacombe County implemented the environmental policy, which solidified the organization’s long history of commitment to the environment.
Since then, the county has updated the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).
The EMP focuses on five priority areas, which ensures Lacombe County keeps the environment at the forefront of the county’s actions and decisions each day. These priorities include Water Quality and Security; Waste Creation and Disposal; Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation; Energy Consumption and Land Use in the Built and Natural Environment.