Renfrew Solar Garden looking for a new path after major funding fails

After losing out on the Municipal Community Generation Challenge grant funding, those at the Renfrew Solar Garden must find a new plan to move forward

The Calgary community of Renfrew is exploring the idea of a solar power community garden for their area. WIKIMEDIA

The Calgary community of Renfrew was denied a $3 million grant for a solar garden, but there’s still a ray of sunshine for this eco-initiative.

The area community association had pitched their proposal for a solar garden to the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre as part of the Municipal Community Generation Challenge. They received their reply last month.

“We are kind of in this purgatory period right now about not knowing how to take the first step,” said Paul Gill, the project champion of the Renfrew solar garden.

The team announced the news to the community through a statement given in the Renfrew Community Association newsletter.

“The volunteers behind the proposed Renfrew Solar Garden have been notified that the project proposal was not awarded funding through the Municipal Community Generation Challenge. They will be looking into other options,” the statement read.

This promotional video contains footage from the last open house, held at Telus Spark.

The solar garden would have cost around $3.9 million, with less than $1 million coming from community investors and a requested $3.1 million from the MCCAC grant.

Without the grant, the project needs a financial rework.

Solar garden setback, but not full stop

“It just means a smaller solar installation,” Gill said.

“That whole thing may come back, just on a smaller scale.”

Gill is looking towards the future, researching other available municipal grants. He hasn’t lost hope, despite the major loss in funding.

He and his team are also weighing the ratio of municipal grant money to money from private community investors — though he’s not worried about community interest.

“Lots of people are on our list are still excited to continue on. They’re excited to continue to invest,” said Gill.

The initial specifics of the Renfrew Solar Garden / RENFREW SOLAR GARDEN

This loss may be a major setback, but the project plans to move on, however long that may take.

“I see this as coming together, but the timeline is all messed up,” Gill said.

“We’ll see how everything pans out once we retool.”

To keep up with the project, you can visit their website at renfrewsolargarden.com.

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