Investing in Solar

By Richard Peachey

Connie McCracken is a stalwart pioneer of For Our Grandchildren. As a member of the Board, she ran the Events Committee from its outset and beyond that as, Membership Committee Chair, she in her role as Membership Chair she oversaw a rapid increase in membership in 4RG.

These days Connie is slowing down, but she is still living by her ideals.

Generation Solar installing the solar panels on top of Connie’s house.

She and her husband, Dave, have recently turned their home in Peterborough into a solar-powered generator. It was Connie’s dream that they get solar panels, and the first step was to arrange for the Greener Homes audit to see how they could improve their energy use and reduce their climate footprint. GreenUp, the Peterborough environmental non-profit, advised them about what improvements they might make and further, helped them with the information on how to access government rebates and loans.

GreenUp suggested that they could mount solar panels on their south-facing roof. With a solar array they could create energy without producing greenhouse gases, and reduce their hydro bill. Months later they arranged to do exactly that with the help of local energy contractor, Generation Solar.

Connie learned a lot about Solar panels from JP Pawliw of Generation Solar who presented on  the topic at one of the 4RG Meets events. See the recording here.

Connie posing proudly with her new solar panels.

The solar panels mounted on Connie’s roof can produce 5 kilowatt hours (kwh) per day. When that electricity feeds into the Hydro One grid her meter registers that power as a credit against her hydro usage. If the array produces more power than she uses in a day (which can happen on a sunny day) the credit counts against future usage. In the first 4 months, (October to January) following the installation Connie and her husband have benefited by about an 80% decrease in their hydro bills.

In addition to the solar array, they also had installed a Kohler 12V generator, powered by natural gas, that, in the event of Hydro One blackouts, will automatically kick in and generate electricity to the home.

Connie and Dave received the Greener Homes subsidy to pay for the solar panels quickly, and now they are saving money, plus they are using less natural gas.

It must feel good!


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