Sunshine Coast residents have shown  keen interest in solar power and over 100 people signed up for more information on a solar cooperative last fall following the screening of Powerful: Energy for Everyone at the Green Film Series. A group has been researching and working on getting more information and is now ready for a public meeting.

The Gibsons Green Team and Sunshine Coast in Transition are hosting a public meeting on Saturday, March 21, 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Gibsons & Area Community Centre to explore the development of a local Solar Cooperative. It will provide an opportunity to discuss exciting possibilities for solar projects on the Coast, have a look at pv panels and ask questions of electrical contractors.

Up for discussion:  buying panels in bulk for a discount, collaborating with schools and local businesses to put in solar panels and putting in a "solar garden".

Organizers feel that solar powered communities are a real, viable and urgently necessary alternative to the Site C Dam, as well as the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines and that Sunshine Coast residents are eager to investigate options. Several homes already have rooftop arrays of pv panels installed, most grid-tied, some off-grid. Around the world, utilization of solar power has been growing at an exponential rate, as efficiency of photovoltaic panels improves and costs decrease.

Lee Ann Johnson, former Gibsons Councillor with experience in the co-op sector, will facilitate the meeting. Joanna Zilsel will provide a summary of current solar initiatives in BC, outline challenges to overcome, and highlight potential solar options for our community. Julie Clark, SCRD Sustainability & Education Coordinator, will give a ‘big picture’ overview of how a solar cooperative aligns with the SCRD ‘We Envision’ sustainability plan. Matt Hutchings, Dennis Olson and Wayne Slingerland - local electrical contractors with decades of experience in alternative energy systems – will discuss current issues and answer questions.