The completion of the 250kW system at the historic Dresden Raceway in Belleville, Ontario has been announced. This solar electricity platform is expected to ensure the long-term economic viability of a great racing tradition through reliable revenue even in times the track is idle.
The Dresden Raceway, which has enjoyed great popularity among Ontarians since its beginnings back in the late 1880s, had been struggling financially at times to keep up its ambitious operations.
Then the Dresden Agricultural Society, which runs the raceway, explored favorable revenue-generating options which could add “a steady revenue stream to the operations even during the time the track was idle,” said Lucille Laprise, Dresden Agricultural Society president.
With a southern exposure and no shading obstructions, the raceway’s six horse barns proved to be an ideal location for solar panels. But before earning money for the clean energy generated on the barn roof, the Society would have to invest in building the arrays. The investment proved to be a smart one.
“Simply renting out the space came as a turnkey solution that has been earning our non-profit organization money since mid-February,” said Laprise. “I strongly feel that the innovative use of an existing structure to secure the preservation of our great race tradition is something the race’s founders would be proud of as well.”
The 896 solar photovoltaic modules were made just east of Dresden in Belleville by Strathcona Energy International, a manufacturer of premium-quality solar modules. The panels were installed by sister company Strathcona Solar Initiatives (SSI).
Each year, the panels are expected to produce over 355,405 kilowatt-hours of emission-free energy, which is equal to the amount of 245 metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided and can supply close to 34 homes with electricity.
Strathcona Energy Group then rents the roof space on the barns from the Agricultural Society like a tenant. In return, it is selling the energy generated from the panels to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) under a 20-year FiT (Feed-in-Tariff) contract. SSI. the group’s subsidiary, will also be responsible for service and maintenance of the system to ensure highest productivity and optimized yield.
Karl Hollett, Strathcona Energy Group’s CEO, congratulated the Society in saying that “it’s a great reward for us to work with a future-oriented leadership such as the Dresden Agricultural Society that is also keen on preserving an important tradition. Solar energy can be a key asset in protecting what we value in a sustainable and responsible matter.”
Sounds like a winning arrangement for all parties involved.
Images via Strathcona Solar