Solar-powered Alberta town becomes 'net zero' community

By Bob Weber, the National Observer, June 28, 2019

What began as a friendly rivalry between two southern Alberta towns has ended with what may be one of the most extensive programs of solar power anywhere in the country.

Raymond, an agricultural community of about 4,000, has operated nine municipal buildings and all of its street lights by the sun since last fall. It sells excess solar power to the electrical grid when it can and buys it back when it needs to.

It all started in 2017 when town council heard the nearby community of Cardston was planning a solar project. That rankled a bit, said Greg Robinson, Raymond's economic development co-ordinator.

"We have a bit of a competitive rivalry," he laughs. "We just wanted to do better than them."

And so they have.

Raymond has become what is believed to be Alberta's first "net zero" community. The money spent on power from the grid in January is expected to be recouped in the sunny days of July.

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