Lumsden takes first place

Terri Young

2.7 million dollar, five-year Solar Project a major win

March 16, 2023 - The water and wastewater treatment committee, along with the solar, planning and economic development committees, began a five-year task of building a new wastewater treatment facility, along with the installation of a four-location solar project.

Preparations and groundbreaking for the wastewater treatment plant began in the spring of 2019. The solar project commenced in 2020 at a cost of approximate $2.7 million, with funding from the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund of up to $1.1 million. The remainder of the cost is provided by the Town of Lumsden.

A huge bank of solar panels were installed at the wastewater treatment facility, at the solid waste/recycle center, and at the main sewage lift station on 2nd Avenue. A fourth installation of panels is planned for the south sewage lift station in the spring of 2023 after the frost is out of the ground.

The power generated at the wastewater plant will be saved to a 1.2 MW battery storage unit. The solar energy at the solid waste/recycle center will be used to run the compactor, lights, heat and other electronic devices. Any excess power will go into the grid, making this system net zero. CO2 emissions will be reduced by 15 tonnes a year.

This year at the 16th annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards, the Town of Lumsden placed 1st for their project: “Solar Power for New Infrastructure.” Nominated by Jason Praski of ExaEnergy Consulting, who, upon hearing of Lumsden’s solar and battery project in the fall of 2022, inquired about a tour of the new facility. Jason said “he admired the town for its leadership on this project,” which he believes is “the largest municipally owned solar array in Saskatchewan to date, and the first larger scale battery for electricity storage.”

To return the favour for the tour, Jason offered to help promote the project in his renewable energy work. When the SMA nominations were being accepted, he gladly offered to nominate the Town of Lumsden for their project. The nominations appear before the SMA committee, which noted that the winning projects were some of the first of their kind in the Province.

The Town of Lumsden’s winning practice is an initiated solar power project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at four new municipal facilities and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the community. The winners will be highlighted in ceremonies at the SARM and SUMA conventions in Saskatoon.

Five years of hard work from the various committees concluded with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. This project will have a long-term positive impact on the Town of Lumsden and the surrounding areas, along with paving the way for other municipalities to consider their own needs and initiate similar projects.

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