The other major variance was a decision not to contract-out SunMine maintenance and operation at an annual cost of $30,000. Instead maintenance is being performed by City electricians with the expertise of the electrical engineer who acted as the Owner’s Engineer and Payment Certifier during construction, who advises on technical issues City electricians are not qualified to troubleshoot.
We expect operating costs to rise marginally in the future because the first year of operation was covered by a labour and materials warranty. During the first year warranty repair work was completed on 2 solar panels that were lost during a windstorm because they had not been installed correctly and one tracker motor. The 32 inverters, which have a 10 year warranty with ABB, were treated to a circuit board upgrade but not before 4 failed and are being replaced under warranty.
Recently the City spent $36,000 to create an inventory of spare parts that will be available to swap out with. Each component of the system is under warranty but the spare parts inventory will ensure minimal downtime while the warranty repair work is being completed.
Awards, recognition, and publicity continue
One of the objectives of SunMine was to raise the community’s profile as a sunny, innovative community and this has proved to be a great success. Fall 2015 Mayor McCormick was a feature presenter on SunMine at the CivX Lower Mainland Local Government Conference.
In 2015 SunMine and its partners were honored with:
- Community of the Year Award by Clean Energy BC, 2015
- Union of BC Municipalities, 2015 Community Excellence Award for Leadership and Innovation in Green Initiatives
In 2016 SunMine received:
- The Sustainability Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC
- The National Award for an Engineering Project or Achievement from Engineers Canada.
Most recently we have been honored by:
- 2016 Collaboration Award in this year’s Community Energy Association Climate & Energy Action Awards
- 2017 Clean 50 award for outstanding contributions to clean capitalism
1,096, people have toured the facility, including students from the local elementary, middle, and high school, as well as College of the Rockies and Selkirk College. 178 media articles have been published since construction was announced. The project video has received 4,111 unique views, and sunmine.ca has seen over 13,000 unique visitors.