Resident Goes Solar in Oliver to Cut Electrical Bill

Solar panels OliverAn Oliver resident (and Argon Solar client!) is going solar in his quest to cut his electrical bill and save a few trees while he’s at it.

Bob Byer is in the midst of installing 30 solar panels on his roof at $800 each. That’s a $24,000 hit to his piggy bank, but he views this as a long-term investment.

“It hurts a person’s pocketbook initially, but it will save dollars in the long run, and FortisBC rates are not getting any cheaper.”

Byer got the idea when he visited Arizona, where he noticed a majority of homes had solar panels. He noted that consumers in the United States receive quarterly cheques from their power company for saving energy. In Canada, you get a credit on your bill, he pointed out.
Byer has already proven that his solar panels (at 235 watts per panel) are saving him money. For example, in September, he powered everything in his house for free for 20 days. Byer is hoping to eventually run on a credit and virtually wipe out his FortisBC bill.

“The rates are not going down. They don’t care, they’re going to put power rates up whether you like it or not.”

Byer not only likes the idea of saving money, but he likes the fact solar energy is environmentally responsible.

Byer installs solar panels for clients of Argon Electrical Services, an Oliver company that promotes this technology. Installing the panels isn’t a difficult job; you only need one prerequisite – no fear of heights.

Argon Electrical owner Dean Malmberg sees solar technology growing in popularity as FortisBC rates continue to increase and “smart meters” become a reality.

“Sooner or later it will be cheaper to have solar than pay Fortis,” Malmberg said.

Engineer Daniel Partridge confirmed that solar power is definitely growing in popularity across Canada, and there are many reasons, including: people wanting to reduce their impact on the earth; people wanting to reduce their monthly bills; and add value to their house through smart renovation.

“With today’s technology, solar power systems can be made to fit almost any budget,” Partridge said.

He pointed out that a small system capable of offsetting five to 10 per cent of a household’s energy requirement can cost as little as $4,500.

Partridge said homeowners can start with systems as small as two panels.

A solar system mounted on the roof can produce some or most of the electricity consumed in the home.

Most homes in Canada use between 5,000 kWh (very efficient) and 13,000 kWh (not very efficient) per year.

Partridge said southern BC provides some of the best climate for solar production in the province.

One kilowatt of installed photovoltaic (converting solar radiation into electrical power) will generate 1,200 to 1,300 kWh per year.

– Lyonel Doherty

Reposted from Oliver Chronicle article November 7, 2013


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