Harvesting sunlight on Bowen Island, even during the dark winter months

With the end of daylight savings time already three weeks behind us and with Christmas less than a month away, winter has arrived. As we settle into shorter days with more hours spent in the dark, many of us may find ourselves dreaming of sunlight. While more sunshine would be welcome, for one project on Bowen it’s nothing short of essential. 

Since they were installed in August 2016, the solar panels gracing the rooftop on the Bowen Island Community School have been converting sunshine and daylight into energy, much to the delight of BICS students. 

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“Students have enjoyed learning about the solar panels and the fact that they can see up-to-date reports on Greenhouse Gas emissions savings,” says BICS Principal Scott Slater.

The project has included blending the learning from the solar panels into the curriculum in myriad ways.
“For something that is ubiquitous in the lives of students, electricity is typically invisible. While kilowatt and megawatt hours are still obscure terms, the panels have provided students with a tangible object to identify and understand electricity,” adds Slater.

The installation of the solar panels was made possible through a project involving Clean Energy Canada, BICS, and the West Vancouver School District. The panels were gifted to BICS through a private donor who offered $25,000 to CEC’s Solar Now! project, provided that Bowen Island could match that amount. The Bowen Island Community Foundation provided a Community Impact Grant of $12,500, which provided a base from which CEC raised a further $12,500. 

We’re happy to report that, to date, the solar panels have produced 15 MW of energy, saving about 10 T of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of planting 500 trees or the energy given off from 42,000 light bulbs. 

The Bowen Island Community Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2019 granting cycle. If you have a bright idea for a project that would enrich the lives of Islanders, we’d like to hear from you. Get in touch: www.bowenfoundation.com.

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