Brant County Power going into the solar energy business

Brantford - PARIS - A Brant County utility is going all out to install banks of solar panel units on suitable municipal property.

Council will consider final approval Tuesday of a recommendation to back Brant Renewable Energy and its parent firm Brant County Power in submitting an application to the province's FIT (feed-in-tariff) program to install solar panels on the Keg Lane gravel pit and the Paris dam.

The cost of the application is $35,000 for the two locations together.

The corporate development committee endorsed the recommendation earlier this week.

"We have significant traction on this," Bruce Noble, CEO of Brant County Power told councillors Monday as they endorsed the new applications.

Another application already in the works would have panels installed in the Gilbert well field.

Together, the projects would meet the regulations of the Green Energy Act that limit municipalities to generating 20 megawatts.

Other potential sites for consideration include Puttown Road and the Paris landfill.

All proposed locations were reviewed by staff and supported by county CAO Paul Emerson.

"We have an opportunity to generate revenue for the municipality on vacant land," Noble said in an interview Thursday.

"They're the best silent taxpayer you can get."

He noted that the Paris dam has to be rebuilt because a report says it has structural deficiencies.

"If it's going to be rebuilt, that would present an opportunity for us to generate extra revenue.

One theme in the latest applications is the repurposing of under-used lands who original purpose has been exhausted.

Brant County Power also has panel demonstration sites on Dundas Street and on Rest Acres Road.

"Not only could we generate attractive long-term revenue," Noble said, "but the county has a vision to move to a sustainable community, and using more renewable energy as it participates in the Green Energy Hub."

The FIT program was established under the Green Energy Act to encourage people and organizations to invest in wind and solar equipment to produce electricity to sell to the grid, overseen by the Ontario Power Authority.