Taber looks to Raymond for solar inspiration

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WATCH ABOVE: Taber town councillors will be visiting Raymond to look into its net-zero solar projects following a unanimous vote to explore the option. As Emily Olsen reports, Raymond officials are enthusiastic to help – Sep 4, 2020

Taber might soon be going solar with a recent unanimous town council vote to explore the option.

“There’s all kinds of solar operations going up in and around this area, so I guess — innovatively speaking — you have to look at that realistically,” Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop said Friday.

Despite a previous council vote in 2016 against venturing into solar projects, Prokop said this time is different.

Read more: Alberta town becomes solar-powered net zero community: ‘the math makes total sense’

“That’s several years back, so obviously things change,” he said. “We now have companies in and around the Taber area, so it’s new innovation all the way around.”

Taber is looking to a southern Alberta neighbour for inspiration. The Town of Raymond has been net zero with solar power generation since 2018.

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“All of our town services that our residents use every single day are all solely powered by solar electricity, which is incredible,” said Greg Robinson, Raymond’s economic development officer.

“So I’m not surprised other municipalities are looking at what options are on their table. We’ve had a number of municipalities from all over Alberta actually come to visit us.”

Robinson said both municipalities are well-equipped for success with solar.

“We have some of the longest days –summer days anyways,” he said. “We have a high degree of UV daylight.”

Robinson added that with lowering costs of solar projects, it’s a good time for Taber to be exploring options.

“Basically, there’s about five different types you can do. We have four of those five types here,” Robinson said. “So when it comes to getting a hands-on, real world opportunity to see what this might look like, Raymond is really best– actually it’s probably one of the best spots in Alberta.” 

Raymond officials say they’re open to any and all questions to support Taber in its new venture.

“We’re just happy to sort of share with them our journey and share with them some of the things that we’ve learned — the do-wells and could-do-betters,” Robinson said.

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Read more: Solar project seeks to replace abandoned oil wells in rural Alberta

Taber council members will visit Raymond on Sept. 30 to discuss the solar projects and learn more from industry professionals before moving forward on any further decisions.

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