Aug 9, 2017
Story by Andy Adams, photos by Jan Holland except where noted
Drone view of Marina del Rey by Allan Bates.
Pennies from heaven is a nice idea, but what if it was more than just pennies? What if your marina could generate several hundred, or even a thousand dollars a month extra, without any effort on your part?
Well, that’s what Jan Holland at Marina del Rey in Ontario has accomplished and there could be similar opportunities for other marinas across Canada.
Marina del Rey now has very cool-looking and admirably “green” solar panels covering the expansive roof areas over their covered slips. These generate electricity – enough to power 80 homes and that brings in a steady secondary stream of revenue.
As Jan Holland put it, he got the “golden ticket”, but that was after working four years to put the deal together, and it was also during a time when there were significant government subsidies for green energy development.
Last September at Marina del Rey, their solar project was started. The construction crew began by re-enforcing all their roof trusses and trenching to accommodate the underground wiring to the transformer stations.
The subsidies have been reduced now, but there are still opportunities for businesses that have a large, secure and appropriately sized installation opportunity for solar panels. Marinas with covered slips seem well suited to solar panels.
Marina Del Rey worked with an international company called Solar Provider Group who have offices in Toronto and who saw an opportunity at Marina del Rey. Once the project got the go-ahead, the crew working for Solar Provider Group did four weeks of structural reinforcement and eight weeks of construction on the pilings, docks and roof structures to install the 948 Canadian Solar Modules solar panels.
Boats had to be moved around to accommodate the roof reinforcement phase.
With eleven inverters from Fronius Symo, the system size is 250 kW AC or 294 kW DC and has a total output of 360,000 kWh/year.
Not only does this take approximately 80 homes off the grid, it reduces the emissions footprint of Ontario’s electricity system by approximately 66 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
By late September, much of the work had been carried out in their boat house rafters and trenching for cabling and foundation setting for the transformer stations had been started.
Everyone feels good about that and Jan feels especially good about his docks and buildings. He managed to get the government subsidies before they were reduced and the timing was great.
Like many marinas with covered slips, Marina del Rey faced concerns about the infrastructure getting older. Questions like “do we fix them all up? How? And, with what money?” were all issues they were facing. Jan Holland was able to negotiate the solar company paying for all the building upgrades above water. The marina still had totend to the pilings, but with the funds they will receive for the roof lease over the next twenty years, they will be able to replace all their pilings. By being on the ball when the opportunity arose, they got their covered slips repaired to a good state at minimal to no cost and there was an insurance policy benefit also.
A large trench was dug to carry the lines.
In December Jan Holland wrote, “The solar guys have been pretty active in the last two weeks installing all the panelling and the big (green) main transformer.“
This is the big transformer that arrived last winter to complete the installation.
Certainly, Jan Holland put together a great deal for Marina del Rey, but there may still be opportunities for similar marinas with sound structures and a suitable location. We checked and Patrick Collie from Solar Provider Group was willing to give his number – 1-888-989-4677. You can visit their website: www.solarprovidergroup.com to learn more.