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Sunshine helping power up Oliver Museum

Sunshine helping power up Oliver Museum

Lyonel Doherty


A 21st-century power source is now helping a local heritage building to keep its lights on.

Thanks to generous local donors, the Oliver & District Museum (built in 1924 as Oliver’s first police station) has a new pole-mounted solar panel array to help provide electricity in the Museum and the Fairview Jail.

The solar array was installed in the Museum’s Heritage Garden on Nov. 12th by Swiss Solar Tech, and was completely funded by generous private donors.

In 2019, the Oliver & District Heritage Society which runs the site saw a positive impact from solar panels installed on the Archives building to offset the rising cost of utilities. The non-profit was searching for a similar solution at the Museum, but installation costs suspended the project.

This year local benefactors came through, raising $11,000 for the solar initiative. A pole-mounted system was chosen as none of the roofs at the Museum are suitable for solar panels. The pole’s panels are bifacial, meaning they catch and utilize sunshine both from above and from below as it reflects off the ground.

ODHS president Vance Potter described the panels as being “a very nice early Christmas present,” a bright spot in a year marked by reduced visitation and revenues for museums. And that present will keep on giving.

“The panels will offset our costs for the next 25 years, allowing us to put more of our funds towards exhibits and collections,” Executive Director Julianna Weisgarber said. “We couldn’t be more grateful.”

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