As Canada’s most-popular national park – with over 3,000,000 visitors annually – residents and guests alike treasure what Banff is now, and the Town of Banff has implemented a plan to ensure its natural wonders and clean air are there for future generations.
Nowhere does the goal of sustaining Banff’s benefits and reducing the impact upon the environment become more apparent than in how it acquires its power. Alberta currently generates most of its energy through the burning of coal, and unsurprisingly the bulk of Banff’s greenhouse gas emissions come from this source.
Banff wanted to become a leader in energy efficiency. In 2010, they removed the rental fees paid by traditional utilities for access to the town from their regular operating budget and put it into an environmental reserve fund.
Beyond incentives through rebates to residents for energy-efficient appliances, heating and plumbing, it was solar that proved itself Banff’s best choice for renewable energy. Solar panels have been installed on the Wolf Street public washroom, Banff Community High School and Town Hall.
Now, the program is expanding to residential and commercial solar installations through the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Production Incentive. Residents with an approved installation will recoup their investment costs in seven years through fees paid for their power generation and incentive payments from the town. Thereafter, residents continue to earn for the power they provide to the system.
With the application process closed for 2015, the next round will be in early 2016, making sure Banff’s efforts to leave a light footprint on their environment will only grow in the sunshine.
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