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Nova Scotia wildlife refuge with high energy demands goes fully solar

Wednesday, January 13th 2021, 11:55 am - The significant energy demands at Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wildlife inspired the transition to solar energy.

As a reporter based in Halifax, I have had the good fortune of being in close proximity to one of Canada's most reputable wildlife rehabilitation centres in Seaforth, Nova Scotia.

Hope Swinimer has been rescuing injured animals and rehabilitating them at Hope For Wildlife for over 25 years. Whether it's a large storm that has blown seabirds on shore or animals in danger due to habitat loss, Swinimer takes them all in.

nathan coleman wildlife centre Nova Scotia Credit: Nathan Coleman

Approximately 5,500 animals spend time at Hope For Wildlife each year. Powering a facility that takes care of so many animals has significant energy demands, which is why Swinimer recently chose to power the rehabilitation centre with solar panels.

"People are always surprised when they hear about how high our electrical bills are. It could be ten washing machines going non-stop from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. We work around the clock in the summer. We employ probably about 30 people and we have hundreds of volunteers. So we do consume a lot of energy, [it’s] just the nature of our work, so it's really good that we can help balance this out and not feel guilty about the energy that we use,” Swinimer explains.

injured feline at NS wildlife centre credit: nathan coleman Credit: Nathan Coleman

The solar panels were installed by Natural Forces, a company that builds and operates wind, solar, and hydro projects in Canada and Ireland. Roby Douglas, an employee at Natural Forces, says that the solar panels at Hope For Wildlife will generate revenue for the rehabilitation centre over the next 20 years and as a bonus, surplus electricity produced can be sold to Nova Scotia Power.

I was lucky enough to be there the moment that Swinimer flipped the switch and transitioned to solar energy. Check out the video above to take a look at the sustainable wildlife rehabilitation centre and learn more about the company that installed the solar panels.

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