GreenCoast installed 52 solar panels on the roof of the Hilltop Building in Duncan. The building owner monitors the power production with the Solar Edge Monitoring app.

Solar power now more affordable in the Cowichan Valley

Recoup the cost of panels within 10 to 15 years through energy cost savings, expert says

Does the idea of tapping into the power of the sun appeal to you?

You may know fellow homeowners who have installed solar panels on their home and been intrigued by the notion of relying less on BC Hydro and more on a renewable source of energy to power your home.

While residential or commercial solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) power is still relatively in its infancy on Vancouver Island, Andrew Gudmunseth at GreenCoast Electric is fielding an increasing number of calls for information about how it works and what it costs.

“Customers’ motivations about solar energy is kind of a combination,” he says. “Some people simply want to make their own electricity, and others are looking to go more green.”

While many people see hydro power as being one of the cleanest forms of energy, he says, solar is even more so, as its environmental footprint is far less invasive.

Costs diminishing for solar power

As more homeowners and commercial property owners choose to go solar, the cost is coming down, Gudmunseth says, to the point where systems can start around $9,000. While every situation is slightly different, he projects that the cost of the installation can be saved within 10 to 15 years, especially for customers paying BC Hydro’s higher Step 2 rate.

“The first goal is to take people out of that second tier,” he says, noting that the Step 1 rate, installed by BC Hydro to promote energy conservation, is significantly lower per kilowatt.

Here’s some other things to think about when considering installing solar power:

  • Rooftop or ground models available Depending upon the age of your roof or the presence of large trees near your home that create shade, your home or building may not be the best candidate for rooftop panels. Ask about the possibility of a ground installation.
  • Measure your potential savings If you’re keen on getting a more accurate reading of your potential electricity generation – and cost savings – GreenCoast has a Google Maps-linked program that uses a rooftop monitor to estimate how much power you would produce with solar panels. This process happens before the system gets installed, giving you peace of mind.
  • Choose your connections Connect to BC Hydro’s grid using the Net Metering Buyback Program, or have a backup battery installed that allows you to go off the grid.
  • Municipal permitting no problem If you choose GreenCoast, the permitting required to alter your roof is taken care of by them, making it an even smoother process.

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To find out more, book a solar power consultation or ask about other electrical projects, send GreenCoast an email or call Andrew Gudmunseth at 250-597-0672. You can also follow GreenCoast on Facebook.

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