Terratek Energy Solutions Inc. staff work on the solar installations on West Coast General Hospital’s roof.

Terratek Energy Solutions Inc. staff work on the solar installations on West Coast General Hospital’s roof.

Costs come down for solar energy

More people are choosing off-the-grid power sources

With BC Hydro prices on the rise more people are going green by investing in renewable energy.

Solar energy is renewable, resilient and reliable, according to Wes Hyde, lead installer at Viridian Energy Co-operative, and is being seen more on the Island.

“People are actually taking their money out of pensions and investing into solar,” said Hyde. “With BC Hydro prices going up and solar prices coming down we’ve reached a point where it actually financially makes sense to invest.”

BC Hydro is applying a four per cent increase in rates beginning in April that would add roughly $4 to most monthy power bills.

Hyde and Viridian Energy will be installing a small solar power system on the Bainbridge Water Treatment Plant in Port Alberni in the coming weeks. Hyde said the new system will offset power usage within the building and will be used to test the technology and show people how it is used.

“[The new system] will be used to feed a small amount of energy into the building which will be 100 per cent consumed on site,” Hyde said.

The Bainbridge Water Treatment Plant was completely reconstructed in December 2015 and is now a $4 million facility. The plant has a “green” roof and Hyde said the solar panels won’t go through the roofing membrane but instead they’ll sit on top of the roof and use gravel to hold them down.

Four, three-by-six foot, panels are expected to provide enough energy to power the chlorine injector pumps at the plant.

Peter Mieras, owner of Rendezvous Dive Adventures, is familiar with the benefits of using solar energy.

Mieras and his wife Kathy live completely off the grid in a rural, boat-access only, location in Barkley Sound where they run a scuba diving and adventure lodge. They optimize the use of a generator, battery bank and solar panels to create power.

“We feel like we have to take care of the environment as best we can,” Mieras said. “And yes, we use power, there’s no question about it, but we don’t waste it.”

Mieras installed the panels on his roof three years ago and said with how much power they save daily, he should have the panels completely paid for in three and a half years. Mieras’ panels are most efficient on sunny summer afternoons which reduces the amount of time his generator will have to run.

“We actually create more power than we use and the battery bank fills up, fills up, fills up,” Mieras said.”

Feeling that North America is far behind in using renewable energy, Mieras believes our country could take some energy-saving tips from Europe, who are the No. 2 global leaders in the development and application of renewable energy.

“There’s so many things that you can build into a house, even in a townhouse, that will reduce power use and generate power at the same time,” Mieras said.

Port Alberni city councillor, Chris Alemany, put a solar hot water panel on his Sixth Avenue home in 2006 that preheats his home’s hot water.

“I put it together myself and bought all of the stuff on eBay,” Alemany said.

Alemany said his small solar system was an experiment and that since prices on solar panels have come down he plans to upgrade to a new system that will start producing some real power.

“In 2008 it was about three dollars a watt for a solar panel.,” Alemany said. “Now you can get them for under a dollar, so its come down significantly. Our hydro rates have obviously gone up significantly, so you put that together and you start approaching the point where it’s feasible to put in solar panels.”

At a city council meeting on Feb. 22, Hyde talked about the success of other communities currently using or developing solar energy projects.

“The City of Kimberley invested huge into what they call a sun mine,” Hyde said.  “They invested 5.3 million dollars and they own their own system and sell to BC Hydro at a base contract for over 25 years.”

Nelson has their own community solar garden, Hyde said; the Cowichan Valley has a group of investors and solar advocates looking to lease land to develop a solar farm and a First Nations community in Sooke uses thermal solar on their homes.

“Basically people are investing in bonds and those bonds then finance solar projects,” Hyde said.

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s first movie theatre, started before 1920, was originally located on First Avenue, across from Alberni Hardware. This photo is one of 24,000 included in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN09360 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s first movie theatre

The Port Theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1952

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College to offer digital and in-person classes this fall

In-person classes will be able to resume in September

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read