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Ellison Community Solar Pilot Project

​Interest in solar is on the rise and we’re working to provide an easy, affordable option for our customers who want to use solar energy to meet a portion of their electricity needs.

We have applied to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to build the Ellison Community Solar Pilot Project. If approved, it would be BC’s largest utility-led community solar project to date.

This would make solar power accessible to more customers. Our aim is to develop a solar program for customers who are interested in solar, but the upfront cost, placement, operation or maintenance of a rooftop system is not desirable. Anyone who has a FortisBC electric account can participate, whether a homeowner or renter. For example, customers living in multi-family homes.

Our application is now in review with the BCUC and we look forward to a decision in the fall of 2017.

What is it?

​The proposed community solar project is a 240-kilowatt solar array, composed of 720 335-watt panels, to be located on FortisBC property located north of Kelowna, across from the airport and adjacent to the Ellison substation.

This initial project is a pilot program that will provide FortisBC an opportunity to gauge additional customer interest and gather important information on the installation, operation, and maintenance of community solar arrays. This will allow us to make decisions about the potential to expand this program

Why is it needed?

​We want to provide a choice for customers who are interested in meeting some of their energy needs through solar, but for whom a roof top solar array is not desirable or feasible.

This is one of the ways we are responding to customers’ evolving energy needs and it’s in direct response to customer interest. We began the process in the fall of 2015 by surveying customers and found interest in supporting a project of this size.

How will the program work?

​Under the proposed program, called Virtual Solar, participants can rent solar panels on a monthly basis and receive the energy output as a credit on their monthly electricity bill.

While the initial upfront cost will be higher than the credits current electricity rates, the fee is fixed for as long as the customer is in the program, so over the long-term, the program may result in savings if electric rates rise sufficiently.


​FortisBC filed the application in April 2017 and we expect a decision later this fall. The public are encouraged to visit to learn more about the proceedings.

If approved, we will begin construction immediately and expect to complete the project within six months of approval.

More information

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