Energy Manager

OPA approves first educational solar partnerships in Canada

OTTAWA — Two Ontario school boards are lighting the way to a greener, more energy-efficient future. The Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO), in eastern Ontario, and the Grand Erie District School Board (GEDSB), in south-central Ontario, have partnered with Ameresco Canada Inc. which has received contract offers from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to install solar panels on the rooftops of elementary and secondary schools in their respective districts.

The boards have chosen Ameresco Canada Inc. as their solar and renewable energy partner. Ameresco will design, build, own, maintain and monitor the solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the selected schools, while the school districts will generate ongoing revenue based on installed MW (megawatts) at no risk or cost to them.

Thanks to this renewable-energy initiative, Ameresco Canada will install up to 3.3MW of solar technology at 23 Grand Erie District School Board schools, and up to 1.5MW in solar-power generating capacity at 16 schools in Le Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario.

With more than 36 years experience in school facility renewal, Ameresco's dedicated team of solar designers and project-management staff has already implemented similar programs throughout North America, bringing experience and a track record of success to the table.

"We are proud to work with these boards, which are paving the way to a new era in green energy," said Mario P. Iusi, President, Ameresco Canada. "At the school level, students will derive tremendous benefits from seeing a 'live solar laboratory' on the roof of their schools. An environmental and science educational component will be developed in partnership with the school districts."

The solar partnership launches at CEPEO on April 1 to coincide with the kick-off of the Kids' ISO 14000 initiative with partner ArTech. Kids' ISO 14000 encourages students to apply the skills taught in the classroom to the challenge of reducing their family's environmental impact.

"Environmental education must go beyond teaching respect and awareness, and must focus more on changing consumption patterns. Both the Ameresco and ArTech partnerships will provide a wonderful way to teach our students to become responsible users of energy sources while at the same time giving them tools that will allow them to make a significant impact in their community and on the environment", explained Georges Orfali, CEPEO Chair.

It is anticipated that the Grand Erie District School Board solar program will launch April 22 pending official contract sign-off.

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April 15, 2010  By Newswire

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