County could launch Oxford Solar Challenge if council approves

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County residents and businesses will be trying to achieve net zero energy usage in one year with the help of a new challenge.

Oxford County could be introducing a pilot project that would give 16 residents and businesses up to $500 in financial incentives to install solar panels to help them reach net zero energy usage in one year.

The challenge is expected to cost the county $13,000 for the first year of operation, including the $500 incentives and advertising.

County CAO peter Crockett told the Sentinel-Review that the county wants to get a sense of the obstacles to individual residents when it comes to putting solar energy in their homes.

"All along we've said that the solution to 100 per cent renewable is in part renewable energy generation, but it's also significantly energy conservation," Crockett said.

The county will be holding a campaign if the challenge is approved by council to find representatives who are willing to participate and put the investment into their homes and interested in tracking their energy consumption.

Crockett said that the $500 is only a small contribution to what the participants will have to invest in their homes and businesses.

"It's just a financial incentive to help them want to play with us," he said. "We think that there's a business case for doing it. Obviously savings in energy costs. If you reduce the energy you consume, while at the same time you're generating electricity... We believe that there's a nice balance of generating and tracking how you're consuming energy."

If county council approves the challenge at its meeting on Wednesday Crockett said they hope to start in the fall, with solar installations happening in 2018.




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