Green Party leader touts solar energy in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Green Party leader Elizabeth May among speakers at co-op launch event.

The leader of the Green Party of Canada is set to make an appearance at an event focused on green energy solutions in Nanaimo this week.

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, will be a guest speaker at Solar Is Now, an event hosted by the Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island.

Attendees to the free event, set for Saturday (June 11), 7 p.m., at John Barsby Secondary School, will hear May speak about her experience at the Paris climate conference last year.

Ian Gartshore, president of Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island said May will talk about the broader aspects of climate change.

“That’s going to be the high-level view of what is happening globally,” Gartshore said.

Saturday’s event is also the official launch for Energy Solutions’ new community-based solar power co-op known as Island Community Solar Cooperative.

The aim of the co-op is to construct solar-powered panels within the Nanaimo region. The co-op will work in the same fashion that other co-ops typically work in that investors can purchase shares and receive a return on their investment once projects, in this case solar power projects, begin making profit.

“This co-op will be a vehicle for people who don’t have roofs or don’t have roofs that are adequate or who are not prepared to spend $10,000 or $20,000 on solar power, they can spend $500 to a couple of thousand dollars and invest that into the co-op in the form of shares,” Gartshore said.

He said potential investors throughout the Nanaimo region have shown plenty of interest.

“We are generating local power, which helps the grid and we are creating local employment,” Gartshore said. “As we go into those projects and install them and get a return from our investment from those installations … those who have shares in the co-op, will then be able to get a cheque at the end of each year.”

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