A new partnership will result in Habitat for Humanity homes in Guelph powered by solar energy.
The Rotary Club of Guelph, Habitat for Humanity Guelph-Wellington, and several community partners are collaborating on an “ambitious” project that will use solar panels.
Around 100 people attended a luncheon on Friday at the Italian Canadian Club in Guelph where the project was announced.
This project is the first of its kind in Canada. Past-president of the Rotary Club of Guelph, Carolyn Weatherson, recalled attending a meeting in the United States where the idea of installing solar panels to power affordable housing projects first came about.
“There was a group of Rotarians from the United States that created … partnerships between Habitat for Humanity and Rotary Clubs in the U.S.,” said Weatherson. “When I saw what they were doing, I got very interested.”
Weatherson made a similar plan, then reached out to Ryan Deska from Habitat for Humanity Guelph-Wellington.
“Carolyn brought forward the idea a few months ago,” said Deska who serves as Habitat’s director of Community Engagement and Development.
“We sat down and we looked at merits of the different projects to see where it might be a good fit.”
That fit is a parcel of land at 317 Speedvale Avenue East near Stevenson Road North where an office building currently sits. Close to 70 units are planned.
“The Speedvale project was an absolutely easy decision,” Deska said. “We have a really great partner in the Kiwi Newton Group on design and the build, as well as a wealth of experience and knowledge.”
The cost to install the solar panels is roughly $750,000. The Rotary Club plan to do some fundraising and apply for provincial and federal grants in order to cover the cost of the project.
Deska is hoping this project will be the first of many in Canada.
“That is what Carolyn and team at Rotary are working on — to build this as a case study that will inform other potential partnerships.”
Members of Guelph City Council and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner also attended the luncheon and announcement. Weatherson hopes that this is a project that will bring the community together.
“Guelph is such a forward-thinking town. When we have a good idea, they rally around it.”
The Speedvale project is expected to begin in 2024 and be completed sometime in 2025.