Solar Energy Powers Up Queen Elizabeth Pool
Mother Nature will help power Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Pool this summer as the City of Edmonton flips the switch to start collecting the sun’s rays to generate electricity and heat the water through a new solar power generating system.
“This pilot project at Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Pool will help us understand how we will use solar energy at City buildings as we work to lessen our dependency on non-renewable energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Adam Laughlin, Manager of Facility and Landscape Infrastructure Branch. “This reflects City Council’s desire for us to rely less on traditional sources of energy to heat and power our buildings.”
The pilot project aligns with the Community Energy Transition Strategy, which City Council recently endorsed. As part of that strategy, the City has set a target of 10% of Edmonton’s total electricity consumption be generated locally through alternate methods, such as solar, by 2035.
The recently-installed 200 solar panels on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth pool building will generate about 50,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, which accounts for about 40% of the electricity the pool uses annually. This is expected to avoid, on average, up to 34 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The energy generated through the solar panels is equal to the electricity consumed by seven residential homes annually.
A separate set of solar panels is using the sun’s energy to heat the water used at the pool.
The performance of the solar system will be monitored through the year. The results from the Queen Elizabeth pool project will be evaluated to determine how to push forward on this technology for other City buildings, such as fire stations, public libraries and recreation facilities, where appropriate.
“Generating power from renewable sources is one of the tools we’re using to reduce our energy usage and make for a greener city,” said Laughlin. “We also improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings when they are renovated, such as through more efficient lighting. As well, most of our new buildings meet international standards for environmental sustainability.”
The City has partnered with ENMAX Commercial Services Inc., the City’s electricity supplier, to design the pilot and to develop the processes to monitor and evaluate the project so the City can apply the learnings on future solar power projects. In addition, the pilot will benefit from financial assistance provided by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) as part of the ENMAX Solar program.
“ENMAX is responsible for 30% of the total solar capacity in Alberta and is well positioned to work with the City of Edmonton to put their energy transition strategy into action,” said John Rilett, Director of Distributed Generation for ENMAX. “This pilot shows great leadership by the City to deliver on their targets”.
In addition to the power-generating solar panels, the City has studies underway to evaluate the use of combined heat and power generation systems that rely on natural gas to generate electricity right at City buildings. As well, the City has been installing more efficient LED street lights. All of these efforts help the City reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
You can find out more about the Queen Elizabeth pool solar pilot project by visiting edmonton.ca/queenelizabethpoolsolarpilot.