I am writing in response to the letter titled “Solar not a Solution for Everyone.” I agree. Solar is not a silver bullet that will solve everything for everyone with one shot. But it is however part of the solution for a clean energy supply.
Photovoltaic electricity is an existing technology that has been around for about 50 years. Whether it is 12-15% efficient (eg it converts 12-15% of visible light directly to electricity) or 1% efficient, such as our internal combustion engine that we all love, if it is useful it should be considered for use.
PV modules are composed of aluminum frames, silicon crystals, tempered glass plating, and copper wiring. At their end of useful life (25-50 yrs) they are easily recyclable. Many manufacturing plants now produce modules using electricity from solar. A higher global adoption of the use of PV and intense competition for global market share has driven up the efficiencies of production, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.
In his letter, Mr. Royko fails to mention the immense amount of fossil fuel required to construct a hydro dam while stating that the manufacturing of pv modules requires huge amounts of fossil fuels. If a comparison is to be made then include all the facts.
Furthermore, as someone who has recently moved back to the Okanagan, I have become painfully aware of the “Sunshine Tax.” To compare this area with all of Canada is not very accurate when talking about our solar resource.
Yes, we are further north than Mexico or Texas and yes, we have generally cloudy winters, however, in the summer when we all crank up the air conditioning on “pleasant summer days” it makes sense to generate our electricity locally and take the peak load off the hydro grid.
Our entire country was wired for telephone service using government subsidies. Hydro dams and the electricity grid, cell networks, wireless internet, transportation, and most heavily of all the pipeline and fossil fuel industry are all government subsidized. Eight cents per kwh on your electricity bill does not reflect the true cost of what we pay.
Hydro is renewable and constant as long as there is water in the dam and it is clean, once the dam is built and I’m sure that BC Hydro or Fortis BC would love for us to depend solely on their networks. Hydro and solar are both very good sources of electricity.
Personally, I prefer to be as independent and secure as possible. Solar is as predictable and reliable as the sun rising each day and even if it’s not for Mr. Royko, it is for me.
I encourage the young lady that made the presentation to council to continue to be passionate about the environment and the world she will grow up in and I encourage not only Vernon, but the rest of Canada to catch up with the rest of the world.
We are so far behind that some people think we are in front.