‘We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun, you don’t have to do anything it just works. It shows up every day.’ Elon Musk
Did you know that one hour of worldwide sunshine provides enough energy to power everything on earth for a year?
Vernon receives 2027 hours of bright sunshine per year, actually more than either Penticton or Kelowna and a lot more than almost all of Germany, which has adopted widespread use of solar.
Fuel prices are rising rapidly (about six per cent per year). Generating your own electricity controls your costs for 40+ years. Currently there is a federal ‘Greener Homes’ grant of $5,000 to help you go solar. After the grant, a system of 5kw can be installed for approximately $8,000.
It takes only eight years to pay off your original investment of $8,000. After that time your electricity will essentially be free for 30+ more years. You get back at least six times your investment. Also, your property value could rise by up to ‘three or four per cent,’ according to kelownahomes.ca. Basically, you can pay the utility company or invest in yourself.
During the summer excess power from your system passes into the grid and in the winter, when there is less sun, you can draw power back. Also, if you have a solar system you have the possibility of generating power during a power cut.
If the roof of your house does not face south, an option may be to attach the solar panels onto a ground-mounted rack.
Some people are concerned about snow on panels; on an annual basis snow reduces the generation of power by about five per cent.
There is a myth floating around that you will never get back the amount of energy it takes to manufacture a solar panel during its use. This is false; it actually takes about a year to make up for the manufacture.
The ‘bottom line’ is that it feels great to be doing something to combat global warming.
If you would like advice on how to proceed with a solar installation contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Barling lives in Coldstream and is author of BC Hydro’s ‘Sources: Solar Energy’ and was Head of Science at the International School in Monte Carlo.
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