The sun always shines in Esperance.
As least at the Esperance Elks Lodge.
In a project begun about six months ago by Past Exalted Ruler Chuck Johnson, New York Light Energy of Latham installed a half-dozen solar panels in a field behind the Route 20 lodge last week.
Exalted Ruler Bill Vazal said plans originally called for putting the panels on the lodge roof, but after they realized they could double their capacity by putting them on the ground they went that route instead.
"The panels are pretty big," Mr. Vazal said. "Plus we had the land. It's really pretty impressive to look at."
Under their agreement with New York Light Energy, the Elks have no upfront costs for the solar project; NYLE did the legwork for the federal grants needed to make it feasible, Mr. Vazal said, and there's a 20-year lease.
The power generated by the solar panels will be used first by the Elks' Lodge.
Anything extra will be sold to National Grid, Mr. Vazal said, and they're hoping it will help the club generate some extra income.
"Our electric bills are about $800 a month," he said. "The panels have come a long ways and they don't need bright sun all the time. We're pretty confident we can create more electricity than we use."
Mr. Vazal said he expects the system to be up and running within a week or so.
The next step, he said, is for NYLE to run lines from the panels to the lodge.
"It's a good case of a win-win situation," he added.