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Solar For Seniors: Naramata seniors complex gifted solar panels

Four units of a small seniors’ housing project in Naramata have recently gone solar, thanks to a generous gift.

Centennial House is hosting a brief event to ‘throw the switch’ on Oct. 29

The Naramata Seniors Housing Society operates Centennial House, a four-plex completed in 2007. Early in 2022, the society applied to SkyFire Energy Systems, a solar panel firm that has operated for 21 years in three provinces. The company assessed the building and the non-profit nature of the society, and agreed to install a photovoltaic solar system valued at close to $40,000, including equipment and labour.

“We’ve always been mindful of the communities we work in and we decided to reach out and gift two non-profits with solar systems. We received dozens of applications, and vetted them carefully,” said Landon Aldridge, vice-president of operations with SkyFire Energy.

“The buildings we chose for this donation were the Naramata Seniors Housing residence and a recovery house in Calgary for cancer patients.”

This Saturday, Oct. 29, they will “throw the switch” on the solar array. Centennial House will also celebrate its 15th anniversary during a brief public event at 2 p.m.

Over the past 15 years, Centennial House has been home to 18 residents. The four units are either held by the occupants as part of an innovative life lease program or are rented from the society. They are fully equipped, self-contained suites. The units average around 800 square feet with one suite of 1,000 sq. ft.

Centennial House is located close to the core of Naramata village, and is a block from Manitou Park. The building was the culmination of a five-year grassroots project.

Volunteers provided ‘sweat equity’ during the construction, lobbied for government and agency grants, and modelled some innovative methods of gathering capital to build the four units.

The new solar system relies on net-metering, between the four individual meters and the power utility. During cloudy and sunny days, the solar array will generate power, and is linked to feed the Fortis BC grid to receive power credits when the electricity is not being used by the living units.

The public is invited to the event on Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. It will be outdoors. Centennial House is at 371 Gwendolyn Ave. in Naramata.

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