Good Day Sunshine: A CBE Renewable Energy Story

Nov. 19, 2018

Within the next 12 months, the CBE anticipates the installation of new solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems on nine additional schools.

The first five projects – nicknamed “Good Day Sunshine” by students at Highwood, Senator Patrick Burns, Dr. E. W. Coffin, Chinook Park and Midnapore schools – will generate 60 megawatt hours (MWh) per year and offset about 38 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

All of these power projects are jointly funded by the CBE and Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider. These five schools are eager to integrate the solar system data into their impressive environmental and energy literacy initiatives.

“Engaging students in solving real-world challenges like generating our own solar energy, calculating total energy usage, costs and sources for running a school, and managing waste responsibly, personifies the science program of studies,” says Marlene Krickhan, principal at Senator Patrick Burns School. “There is no better way for students to demonstrate competencies in environmental stewardship, in a manner that will resonate with them for the rest of their lives, than to engage in environmental matters related to their own school building.”

Grade 8 student Cayden, at Senator Patrick Burns School, had this to say:

“From my Science teachers and from participating in the Environment Club, I have learned a lot about how to become smarter and more aware of energy sources and how to conserve energy. I also know we should not take anything for granted. Many other countries do not have access to electricity in the same amounts as we do. We have access to so much energy but should save some for others.”

New Projects Will Convert More Energy

On a grander scale, what will soon become our four largest PV systems are underway at Lord Beaverbrook, James Fowler, Nelson Mandela and Joane Cardinal-Schubert high schools. This work is part of the Alberta government’s Solar Technology System program which fully funds PV systems up to 350 kilowatts (KW) per school.

Together, these four systems will generate an estimated 1,165 MWh per year and offset 745 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The Nelson Mandela PV system is already completed and generating power, the Joane Cardinal-Schubert system is under construction and the James Fowler and Lord Beaverbrook systems are moving from design to construction.

These nine schools will significantly increase the value of CBE’s PV generation portfolio, which once completed, will generate a total of 1,340 MWh per year or 1.7 percent of CBE’s total electrical energy consumption. This carbon-free, renewable energy generation will offset 850 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.

In addition to being one of the largest producers of solar energy in Calgary by the end of 2019, the CBE will have 28 schools providing students with enhanced opportunities to acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge to contribute to a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable society.

What is a Megawatt and a Megawatt Hour?

A megawatt is a unit for measuring power that is equivalent to one million watts. One megawatt is equivalent to the energy produced by 10 automobile engines. A megawatt hour (MWh) is equal to 1,000 Kilowatt hours (KWh). That means it is equal to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity used continuously for one hour. It is about equivalent to the amount of electricity used by about 330 homes during one hour. (source:

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Chinook Park School