Energy alternatives make moral and financial sense

Having grown up in the Cowichan Valley, I was excited by recent discussion in the Citizen regarding climate change. From the announcement of local solar initiatives, to talk of what homeowners and businesses can do to adopt solar energy, opinions vary greatly.

As the founder of UGE, a publicly traded renewable energy company, I am enthusiastic about the growing attractiveness of solar. While some may attack solar as “stupid,” a closer look at the numbers reveals a more optimistic story.

Solar prices are dropping rapidly around the world. Since the early 1970s, the cost of generating energy from solar has decreased 99 per cent, and 80 per cent in the past five years.

Solar panels now provide energy at $0.10/kWh over their lifetime, a price that’s competitive with rates in the Valley. With BC Hydro in the midst of raising rates by 28 per cent, the cost savings provided by solar will be even greater in the near future.

The business model innovation following this point, where solar becomes cheaper than the grid, is even more exciting. Currently, those installing solar are doing so through their own investment, and we should celebrate them as savvy stewards of the environment. However, in the coming years you will see companies offer no-money-down alternatives to access solar power. We should all be excited about solar becoming common within Cowichan over the next few years, when consumers can immediately save money while also helping the planet.

An old saying goes: we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. We’ve reached a critical point in history where the urgent need to adopt renewables has met the financial feasibility of doing so. Fortunately we now have an economic incentive, along with our moral obligation, to take action.

Nick Blitterswyk Founder CEO, UGE