The York Catholic District School Board is proud of its commitment to ecological sustainability and conservation. For Earth Day, April 22, schools across the Board will be holding special events and activities to raise awareness about ecological sustainability, waste management and the importance of energy conservation. However, behind the scenes, the Board has undertaken numerous initiatives to help protect the environment, including a large rooftop solar power operation at 24 of its schools.
In 2014, the York Catholic District School Board licensed 24 Solar PV systems through a partnership with Potentia Solar Inc. (PSI), the largest rooftop solar operator in Canada and a leader in building and operating solar systems with Ontario school boards. York Catholic's Solar PV systems operate at 24 schools in six municipalities throughout York Region. The total generation capacity for these systems is 2.4 MW DC. The license agreement is for a period of 20 years. The energy generated by York Catholic's licensed Solar PV systems is expected to be 53,759 MWh, which is enough power to provide electricity for 279 homes each year for 20 years. This will offset 37,000 metric tonnes of CO2 during that time.
"Potentia Solar Inc. takes great pride in the partnership it has with the York Catholic District School Board," says Chris Asimakis, PSI President and Chief Operating Officer. "We feel that renewable energy will power the future, and that the youth of today will be inspired by these real examples of renewable energy at their schools."
"We are proud to be a leader in school rooftop Solar PV systems," says Norm Vezina, Senior Manager of Environmental and Office Services, YCDSB. "It is both financially responsible, as well as environmentally responsible. York Catholic is deeply committed to teaching and practicing ecological sustainability and conservation as we all have a part to play in protecting the environment."
Last year, the York Catholic District School Board was named the Top Energy Performing Board in
Ontario by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in its first-ever list rating Ontario
school boards' energy efficiency. The Board has also received wide recognition for its environmental practices.
YCDSB's Environmental and Office Services Department coordinates the Board's environmental initiatives including the Board's Eco-Schools Program, Energy Champion Awareness Program, and its pedal-powered Rock the Bike school environmental presentations that showcase electricity generating bicycles while teaching students ways to practice energy conservation and waste management. Currently, 57 York Catholic schools are Ontario EcoSchool certified.