350 Kingston 350 Kingston, November 28, 2021

A sub-group of 350 Kingston is trying to get Utilities Kingston to invest in a (or several) city owned solar farm(s).

Ontario is undertaking a community net metering pilot project which allows installation of a solar farm by an entity that must have a “behind the meter” load, but importantly also allows loads which are not behind the meter.  A demonstration project in London, ON is making use of this approach and it will allow residents to offset their electrical consumption with credits from the solar farm.  This approach is also known as Virtual Net Metering.  This means a (potentially) more cost effective, central solar facility can be installed (vs rooftop solar on homes) and it allows apartment or condo dwellers to benefit.

The “Municipal Solar” sub-group of 350 Kingston is pushing for an alternative approach.  Rather than have investors buy shares in a solar farm, or, as in the London case, buy properties which are part of a Community Net Metering Project (CNMPR), we are looking to have a (or several) solar farm(s) constructed and operated by Utilities Kingston so that the benefits go to all citizens, not just those rich enough to invest in a CNMPR.   This would leverage Kingston’s advantage in having a local utility.

This would have several benefits:

    • Utilities Kingston would gain expertise in Solar PV electricity generation
    • This expertise, funded in part by the electricity produced, would help provide the knowledge base for future expansions and optimizations of the local grid.
      • Optimizations could include Vehicle to Grid (letting Electric Vehicle owners set up, on a dynamic user selected basis, to have a portion of their Electric Vehicle’s battery storage sent back into the grid), Demand Shifting (eg. having smart electric water heaters that make use of “excess” electricity and use the water tank as a thermal “battery” or charging Electric Vehicles in times of “excess” electricity production).
    • It would be good for the planet!!

To better educate ourselves we visited Tatyana Zaremba at her solar farm near Battersea.  Seeing first hand what this remarkable woman has accomplished and getting to see the components of a solar farm in action was very worthwhile.  Thank you Tatyana for donating your time to help us and for the benefit that your solar farm is providing in the fight against climate change.

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