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Solar panels almost ready for use at Cape Dorset arena

Solar panels installed atop the Cape Dorset arena over the summer are only in need of a final sign off from the chief electrical inspector before they begin generating power, said Will Sandoval, the community's recreation director.

Solar panels installed atop the Cape Dorset arena in July should be generating power very soon, following a final electrical inspection, recreation director Will Sandoval says. photo courtesy of the Hamlet of Cape Dorset

The two dozen panels were paid for through the gas tax fund, although the hamlet had to make in-kind contributions, he noted.

Sandoval is hoping that the panels can offset the building's power bill by 10 to 15 per cent.

“It's hard to say until we actually have it running for a year,” he said, adding that the fan system used to cool the arena to enhance the natural ice-making process draws a lot of power.

Solar panels were also put in place at the Gjoa Haven arena this summer.

“With other communities installing them and hearing some of their stories saying yeah, they've been saving some money,” said Sandoval. “There have been very positive reviews on it.”

In Iqaluit, where 40 solar panels were installed in 2016 for close to $100,000, the annual savings has amounted to almost $9,000, according to Amy Elgersma, the city's chief administrative officer.

“We have had very few issues. One panel was damaged by vandalism but we were able replace that panel,” Elgersma stated. “Occasionally snow accumulation prevents the solar panels from achieving maximum efficiency, but we are able to remove snow and generally the snow blows off easily on its own so it's not a significant issue.”