‘It’s about being a leader’: Fredericton Public Library goes solar

Solar panels will be installed by summer’s end and are designed to demonstrate the cleaner energy technology

Bruce Good, the City’s engineering technologist, stands in front of the Fredericton Public Library

The Fredericton Library is going solar later this summer, with 29-kilowatts worth of solar panels being installed by the end of August.

“We get very good sun days without fog,” said Bruce Good, the City’s engineering technologist. “[Fredericton] may not be as good as Phoenix, A.Z., that’s in the desert with little rain and little cloud, but it’s definitely a feasible technology to use.”

The installation is part of a larger, roof renewal project by the City of Fredericton, he said.

It doesn’t have goals attached to it, like providing a certain per cent of the building’s power. But people will see how much power is being produced through electronic display screens.

“It was just to demonstrate the technology,” Good said.

What made the library a good candidate is its south-facing, pitch roof, allowing for the greatest exposure to the sun year-round.

Mark McCann, subcontractor on the job, said it’s good policy for the City to be installing cleaner energy on public buildings.

“They’re leading by example,” the president of MJM Solar Solutions said. “They want to show people, ‘Hey, look. We’re purchasing solar energy. This isn’t just something you see in those far away, out-there projects.’”  

Close-up of a solar panel at New Brunswick’s first solar farm, outside Sussex.

In our climate action report, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick calls upon the provincial government and municipalities to take the lead on installing cleaner energy technology, noting governments can often more easily absorb the necessary, upfront costs and then save money and reduce carbon pollution over the long term.

“We’re really pleased that Mayor Mike O’Brien, the other councillors and everyone else working for the City takes seriously the threat of climate change and our need to find more sustainable, cleaner solutions for our energy needs,” said Lois Corbett, our executive director.

The library is the second of three buildings Fredericton hopes to outfit with the technology. The first was at Killarney Lake, where panels produced 19,000 kilowatt hours of power this past year.

It’s uncertain how much power the panels will generate for the library, McCann said, until more details are finalized.

“It’s about being a leader,” McCann said. “Being a leader in the technology. Being a leader in advancing the technology.”

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