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We have not looked at solar street lights but we did consider solar power assist for the West Bench water pump house and other projects. Much of this analysis was based on actual numbers from the solar assist system for sewage treatment in Osoyoos.  After looking at this many different ways, I have come to the following conclusions regarding solar power in the RDOS:

  1. Solar, especially photo voltaic, is very expensive.
  2. Most power is British Columbia is generated from hydro, which is pretty green.  So it is not clear that investments in solar will have any net impact on (say) global warming.  Indeed, it is likely that we could get much more bang for our buck by doing other things.  For example, rather than paying for solar upgrades in the RDOS, we should be subsidizing China and India to convert coal-fired generating plants to natural gas.  There is only one atmosphere, after all.
  3. Our electricity cost for these lights is unlikely to be very high.  The old, energy-inefficient gooseneck lamps that comprise the existing West Bench lighting system cost about $5,000 per year in electrical costs.  The lights being anticipated in the survey for the walking path are modern LED models and use less (about half?) the electricity.
  4. Electricity in BC is too cheap to justify solar, even on very large scales.  Projects that make sense in (say) Germany simply do not make sense at our prices.

 

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