On Location: MEC Broadway Solar Installation Launch

“It is possible to get off fossil fuels – we just need to make it happen.”

That is Rob Baxter, President of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation’s (SPEC) take on the significance of their latest partnership with Bullfrog Power, and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).

SPEC made renewable energy history nine years ago, installing Vancouver’s first grid-tied solar panels on their Sustainability Demonstration Centre. Recently, structural issues forced the demonstration building to close. Instead of scrapping the panels, SPEC turned to their partner, Bullfrog Power to keep the historic installation running.

MEC –  an outdoor equipment co-op, known for sustainability, and winner of the 2014 Canadian Green Building Award for their North Vancouver location – eagerly offered to adopt SPEC’s panels, plus an additional set funded by a grant from Bullfrog Builds, to be housed on their Vancouver rooftop. Together the panels will provide 2,900 kWh per year to the store, enough to power 10 of their cash registers.

Yesterday, the three organizations and 70 guests welcomed the panels to MEC’s Vancouver rooftop. While in use at the demonstration centre, the panels showcased distributed solar power for homes in British Columbia, bringing to life “practical solutions for urban sustainability, [and how to] move away from fossil fuels.”Since SPEC flipped the switch, 300 similar installations have launched in the province and solar prices have been cut nearly in half. As Baxter said, the organization “helped to start the solar revolution in British Columbia.”

Bullfrog Power, allows residential and commercial customers to be powered by 100 percent Canadian renewable energy, in turn Bullfrog Builds works across the country installing community-based renewable energy projects. MEC has been a customer of Bullfrog Power since 2007, and has a long history in Vancouver, making them an excellent bridge between SPEC’s education programs and Bullfrog’s energy initiatives.

With this partnership, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation’s education portion of their Zero Fossil Fuel Future campaign can continue with tours of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver rooftop. “Within a year we will see community owned solar energy projects in B.C., the partnership we have created here is helping to initiate the second phase of the solar revolution in British Columbia.”

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