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Solar Fair shines a light on positive change
Okanagan College Media Release

A new society, with a host of supporters, is hoping to shine a light on solar energy at a day-long fair being organized for March 12 in Penticton.

First Things First Okanagan was launched two years ago and became a registered society recently. It was formed to engage the public in a dialogue about climate change and to promote action to reduce society’s carbon footprint.

One of the first of the society’s undertakings is Solar Fair: A Symposium on Solar Energy, that will take place March 12 at Okanagan College’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

The College joins Berry and Smith Trucking, the Penticton Indian Band, Terrateck, Swiss Solar and Penticton Whole Foods as sponsors of the event.

“Our goal is to showcase what is possible and to give people a reason to think about alternative energy sources,” explains Jim Beattie, one of the principals of First Things First Penticton. “It’s not enough to talk about the impact of climate change, we need to be thinking about what we can do about it in a proactive manner.”

While the Solar Fair is aimed at the public, it has another important audience in sight: municipal leaders.

“Our local governments can be among the most effective in helping change direction and influencing individual behaviour,” says Beattie. “We are inviting mayors, councillors, rural representatives, chief administrative officers and planners to our fair and have arranged Josha MacNab of the Pembina Institute to give a special keynote address focused on the municipal audience.”

MacNab has consulted with communities on ways to reduce their carbon footprint. She attended and has written about the recent Paris Climate Change Talks. MacNab will also give a second keynote address for the public.

“This is a good way to use what we have been able to accomplish at the College to help showcase the opportunities that are at hand for individuals and local governments,” explains Donna Lomas, the College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

The Solar Fair runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Penticton campus of the College. It is free and open to the public. Opening ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m. The fair will include:
  • seminars by experts on solar equipment and installation, building design, energy management, community solar arrays and the wider field of green technologies;
  • a panel discussion on the practical aspects of solar installations, including cost/benefit analysis;
  • tours and a seminar led by staff and students of the world-leading Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence building at the Penticton campus;
  • displays by solar installation companies;
  • testimonials from businesses and citizens who have installed solar systems;
  • display of the Okanagan College student-built solar house;
  • presentation by staff and students of the groundbreaking, three-year Sustainable Construction Management Program;
  • displays by climate change and alternate energy advocacy groups.