Solar incentive

Mapleguard Ratepayers’ Association held its AGM on Feb. 17 with guest speaker Eric Smiley, a member of the Viridian Energy Co-operative.

Mapleguard Ratepayers’ Association held its AGM on Feb. 17 with guest speaker Eric Smiley, a member of the Viridian Energy Co-operative.

Solar power incentives in B.C. have been lacking compared to other provinces, but this business has been thriving in recent years as technology has improved and prices have dropped significantly. Site shading analysis before commitment is a trademark of Viridian installations and strongly recommended before any solar installation.

BC Hydro has already had a 15.6 per cent rate increase since 2013 and will continue to raise rates according to their website. Residents are looking at options to counter these rate increases with many considering solar power.

Smiley presented the analysis of solar power in terms of a long term investment with payback capable of returns up to two-five per cent comparing it to a GIC investment over a 25-year term. He used the example of an installed system costing $10,000 with net metering. The 3.2kW solar system is capable of paying for itself within 10-15 years in the Bowser/Deep Bay area.

BC Hydro’s “net metering” provides savings directly to the homeowner reducing daily electricity costs.  Installed systems are virtually maintenance and hassle-free when connected to BC Hydro. Systems are expected to last for at least 25 years, with those installed 40 years ago still working productively according to Smiley.

The Viridian-installed solar system includes the computer monitoring. Each individual panel can be monitored and analysis of daily/monthly/yearly/lifetime energy production is available. Included are permits and tie-in to BC Hydro. Homes with solar installed would be expected to have higher sales appeal on today’s market.

Many in the audience are considering solar power with several already planning their systems. Smiley provided information based on experience of systems he has installed all over B.C. and even in the Northwest Territories. There were many questions from the audience, demonstrating that solar energy is of considerable importance to many. It was an interesting evening enjoyed by all.

Dianne EddyBowser