Watch above: One of Saskatoon’s oldest movie houses powers itself with new technology. Wendy Winiewski is at the Broadway Theatre for the unveiling of the rooftop solar panels.
SASKATOON – The 7,000 square foot roof of the Broadway Theatre has been transformed from an energy burner to an energy producer. Eighty-eight solar panels now glisten on the flat top roof which has been painted white to reflect residual sunlight and to decrease high cooling costs associated with the former black roof.
Kirby Wirchenko’s energy and enthusiasm for the project spills out of him as a group of 20, attending the announcement, made their way onto the roof. From here the power of the warm December sun is evident as much of the snow on the roof has melted to water. The panels are soaking up the rays.
“This old building that used to be the old weird movie theatre now has some options to become kind of inspiring to other people,” said Wirchenko.
Depending on sunlight and cloud cover, the 82 solar panels will generate about 30,000 kilowatts of energy, saving the Broadway Theatre between $3,500 – $4,000. The project cost $67,000. A provincial rebate covered $13,000 and the remainder is split between Affinity Credit Union, ArtsVest, Bullfrog Energy and the theatre itself, which is paying for 25 per cent.
Over a five-day period, Saskatchewan company MiEnergy installed the system. Kevin Bergeron of MiEnergy guarantees a 30-year life on the panels meaning the Broadway Theatre will recoup its costs within the first few years.
“If you run the numbers and you look at the actual financial statistics and data with regards to solar, we’re at that tipping point now where it is financially viable for the consumer to invest in solar panels,” said Bergeron.
After 14 years in business, the company just recently doubled its business year over year thanks to an increased interest in solar energy.
Bullfrog Energy has assisted with 50 renewable energy projects across Canada. Just three are located in Saskatchewan, explained Sean MaGee.
“Saskatchewan has a lot of room to grow. There’s huge opportunity here for solar and I don’t think we’re reaching capacity so we’re really excited to plant the seed here.”
The number of sun days in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan makes our province one of the best in North America for solar energy.