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The owners at Tourism London (Ontario, Canada) believe it is the tallest solar tree in the world at 23 feet (seven meters). The electricity generated by this system will provide revenue to pay for the project over the life of the contract, funded by an Ontario Power Authority microFITcontract. As a result, there will be no net cost to London taxpayers for this solar power installation. The big bonus: solar power projects reduce the need to generate electricity from burning coal, which reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Placing the solar panels at Tourism London provides the public with an opportunity to learn more about renewable energy through an information centre to be set up at the Tourism London office. The Solar Tree is designed to mimic the image of the City logo with 27 ‘leaves” each outfitted with a solar panel. It provides a visual landmark for the tourism office to highlight this clean, renewable energy project. This structure–along with three other, pole-mounted solar panels–can produce 8.6 kilowatts of electricity, enough to provide for about half the electricity needs of the Tourism London offices. The solar project will be highly visible from both directions on Wellington Rd.
• It is a 8.6 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic, ground-mounted system
• 3 pole mounted arrays (about 8 kWs) plus one unique, solar tree (about 0.5 kWs)
• Solar Tree is 7 meters (23 feet) tall, has 27 leaves, each producing power
• The system will generate 10,000 kWh’s per year, about ½ of the annual electricity needs for the Tourism London building at 696 Wellington Rd. (When the sun is shining, these panels could power up to 7 homes)
• Cost of project: $160,000 - As far as the cost of the system–$160,000 Canadian dollars–Tourism London Canada is quick to point out that it will come at no cost whatsoever to the London taxpayer, as over the course of a 10 year contract, recently signed with the Ontario Power Authority’s microFIT program, the Solar Tree system will save enough in utility costs to offset its cost of purchase, and then some ($165,000).
• Expected revenue: $165,000 over the 20-year contract
• The system will offset up to 10 tonnes of CO2 per year from coal-fired power plants