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Posted May 20, 2011

Solar Energy

Announcing Ontario's Largest Community Financed Urban Solar Park Park to Position Guelph as Leader in Community Energy

Guelph - A new Guelph-based renewable energy co-operative is offering Guelph and area residents the opportunity to finance a solar energy park.

This initiative gives residents an opportunity to further enhance Guelph's stature as a leading-edge hub of co-operative and renewable energy development. It is also an important contribution to the city's Community Energy Initiative. It has gained the support of the Chamber of Commerce and of Mayor Karen Farbridge. In her letter of support for the development, Mayor Farbridge commented: "I believe that Guelph is ideally suited to embrace such a community power project and make it a success...[it] has the potential to make a significant impact on the community energy landscape in Ontario."

The planned solar park, a 7.5 megawatt ground-mounted installation on Gordon Street, will be located on urban reserve lands owned by IAMAT – the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers, a division of the Foundation for the Support of International Medical Training. Hall's Pond Solar Co-operative will develop and own the system on the property leased from IAMAT, making it the largest urban community financed project in the province. Hall's Pond is submitting a Feed in Tariff application to the Ontario Power Authority. The submission will be officially announced by the Mayor at a ceremony on May 24th at 10 am on the property at 2162 Gordon Street.

Hall's Pond is seeking members to help build the solar park using a Community Power model. The goal is to raise the financing from the citizens of Guelph and surrounding area. The initial financial commitment is for 5 years with a term up to 20 years to match the length of the Feed in Tariff contract. The co-op will pay an initial return of 5% which will be stepped up by 20% every fifth year.

Surpluses from renewable energy developments will be administered by the Community Wealth Non-Profit, a fund dedicated to the establishment of community financed green energy and social enterprise. This umbrella fund will guarantee the returns on the equity invested in each project, significantly reducing the risks that exist when community-financed developments are undertaken in isolation.

This community power development fulfills the intent of the Green Energy and Economy Act by allowing citizens to become involved in the production of renewable energy and receive a fair financial benefit for doing so.

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