Summerland council has reduced the scope of its solar and storage project to keep it within budget.
When the project had been approved in July 2020 and when the decision was reaffirmed in February 2021, the estimated cost was between $6 million and $7 million. However, in late November, new estimates were significantly higher, at around $10.5 million.
At the Summerland council meeting on Dec. 13, council considered four options to reduce the size of the project in order to keep it within its budget.
“Any of the options chosen involve a change in scope from the original concept,” Jeremy Storold, director of utilities said in a report to council. He added that with any of the options, staff would meet with the funder to discuss the revised project.
Two options, the battery energy storage system only and a smaller version of the solar and battery storage project on the same location, will now be considered.
Under the first of these options, the solar component would be removed and the focus would be on the battery storage element only. While this option is simpler to design and requires less civil work, there is no solar power generation as had been originally envisioned.
Scaling back the solar and battery storage option would keep the same concept as had been envisioned, but would result in less power generation. In addition, the site has already been determined as suitable for the project and would not require additional study.
Two other options were rejected by council. These were to scale back the solar and battery storage project and move it to a different location, and to keep the battery storage in the same location but with a community-ready “solar garden” in a different location.
The higher costs of the initial solar and battery storage concept came because of rising prices resulting from a variety of factors. These factors included supply chain issues, inflationary pressures and increases to materials and supplies.
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