Soon to Come: A Patch for the Free Standing Solar Panel Problem?

In an earlier post back in June,, I discussed one of the problems municipalities have been dealing with as a result of the Green Energy Act. Free standing ground mounted solar panels have been popping up around Niagara to the chagrin of Municipal Councils, staff, and some residents.

There are some that are mounted on great big steel poles within a couple of feet, or even right up against the fences of residential back yards. The problem is that, as a result of an oversite in the Green Energy Act, many of these structures fall under "Class 2" category, and are therefore not regulated for safety in any way. No building permit necessary.

Using the above article in the Welland Tribune for an example – The structure is said to be 8.3 metres wide and 3.3 metres tall = 280 sq ft approximately. I have read that these panels weigh anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds per square foot. Calculated at 4 pounds per square foot, the panel structure alone would weigh 1120 pounds. That’s a dangerous structure in a wind storm – and this past spring all of us in Niagara had a lesson in the power of wind.

The good news is that during a question period at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference last week in London Ontario, Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn asked Minister of Energy Brad Duguid what plans the current Provincial Government has to address this problem. Minister Duguid responded that this was an oversight in the legislation, that he recognizes the problem, and that they will be looking into this in the next few weeks…. this fall.

The resolution of this issue will serve the Liberals well in the upcoming election, give further credibility to the Green Energy Act, and most importantly, prevent someone from being hurt.

Let’s keep an eye on this one.

Dianne Rintjema


The Niagara Region Wind Corporation (NRWC) has announced it’s dates for the first of two public meetings (in each of the six affected municipalities) required under the Environmental Assessment process. Lincoln’s will be held on September 13th at Rockway Community Centre, 2021 Regional Rd 69, Lincoln from 5:30 to 8:30 in the evening.

The meetings in three of the municipalities are being held in the afternoon which is unfortunate for the residents who work during the day.

In the meantime, the Draft Project Description Report is available to view online at NRWC.CA or at the municipal offices listed in the following notice:

Dianne Rintjema



That’s right – In 1919, Frank Johnston of the infamous Canadian Group of Seven painted an arial view of Beamsville and the shore of Lake Ontario with a squadron of biplanes maneouvering during a training exercise.  He named his painting “Beamsville”.  Early in World War One, Sir Max Aiken, a Canadian millionnaire, commissioned artists to record the war, and Johnston was one of three who were to paint in Canada.  Over 850 paintings were produced, and they are now on display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Johnston spent five days painting at the School of Arial Fighting in Beamsville.  He was specifically commissioned to sketch the lives of the men of the Royal Flying Air Corps in Ontario and the resulting work “Beamsville” is thought by many to be Frank Johnston’s masterpiece.

*Credit to Roger Burford Mason from his book titled “A Grand Eye for Glory: a life of Franz Johnston”