Williamstown arena can’t support solar panels: study

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LANCASTER – Hopes for South Glengarry to save on the cost of electricity by going green at the Char-Lan Recreation Center have been dashed with word the roof can’t support solar panels.

South Glengarry council will review a structural analysis from EVB Engineering Monday night, which recommends the municipality not install solar panels due to a host of problems with the building on County Road 17 in Williamstown.

The study found overstress in several parts of building frame, including the main ice rink and workshop areas, and that “significant reinforcing” of the frame would be needed to handle a solar grid.

The consultants also found mild to severe corrosion in some of the metal beams in the 1970s era building.

To add to the corrosion problem, the roof needs to be replaced. With condensation issues, a new roof would need insulation and a vapour barrier, which would add further weight to the building frame.

The study looked at the frame but did not address the foundation it sits on.

“These upgrades may in itself impart additional dead load onto the structure that is not included with this analysis,” the report reads.

“With consideration of all factors including the age of the building, the structural reinforcing required, implications with respect to a new metal roof system, and other limitations, the installation of solar panels atop of the Recreation Center is not recommended.”

EVB also noted that the municipality needs to address the building columns where the Zamboni is kept “as soon as possible” as there is severe corrosion.

In June, council heard from a company that specializes in putting solar panels on arenas for municipalities, promising an “80 per cent or more” immediate reduction in energy costs by installing solar panels under an Infrastructure Canada program.

Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday (Dec. 20).