Here comes the sun

Co-Artistic Director Michael de Coninck Smith gives us a tour of their amazing solar installation

In a previous article we wrote about the fantastic project that Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre has undertaken to bring a solar farm to the roof of their building in Cabbagetown.  This week on a particularly beautiful Wednesday I took a field trip to get a tour from Co-Artistic Director Michael deConinck Smith.  After a harrowing (for me) trip up the ladder to the roof Michael enthusiastically showed us their amazing state of the art “no penetration” system.  Michael explained the last thing he wanted was to have 500 screws drilled into the recently replaced roof to hold on the solar panels, as that was an invitation for future leaks.  Instead the whole system is held on with a series of ballasts made of common patio stones that were tested in a wind tunnel from all angles and in high speeds.

Common cement ballasts (like paver stones you’d find in your yard) hold the solar panels on the roof.

Under a contract with the Ontario Power Authority CCDT is estimating revenues of up to $20,000 a year from the sale of its solar generated electricity. This is money that the company plans to invest directly back into the community – offering dance scholarships to up to 20 students from surrounding neighbourhoods who couldn’t otherwise participate in their summer programs. Michael explained, “It’s about going back to our roots, really; we’ve been doing a lot of touring around the province and nationally but this brings us back to building in our local community.”

Michael’s passion for the environment and desire to educate future generations and the community about renewable energy is so apparent when talking to him.  To create even more interest in green energy, CCDT has also installed a large LED monitor on their front façade on Parliament Street, which will broadcast readouts of its energy outputs; carbon and energy offset equivalents and return on investment stats. Michael hopes that, after people see—literally—the benefits of green energy, they too will be inspired to take action.

Shana Hillman

Flipping the switch on all those solar panels.

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