Recent Items – 2004-2005
By Gary Rusak
Morning has broken for solar energy across the city.
“I was just in Vancouver with the Solar Energy Society,” said Emanuel Machado, deputy director of development services for the city, on Monday.
“We were touring sites in Vancouver and meeting with contractors. We are trying to establish, essentially, a price list for different systems we can choose from.”
Machado’s visit stems from a partnership between the city and the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association to help “raise the profile of solar energy” across the province. The two-year program, which started this month, has a goal of promoting solar power throughout the city and the region by offering incentives and discounts to prospective households. Machado said that the city would lead by example.
“We have to replace some of our hot water heaters,” he said. “We will hopefully be replacing them with solar hot water heaters. We have looked at five locations (in city facilities) that we are looking to replace.”
The city believes that the solar systems should be an easy sell to energy and cost-conscious residents.
“By putting in a solar hot water system you reduce, on average residential, your greenhouse gases by one-tenth,” Machado said adding that participating residents will also notice a sizeable decrease in their heating bills.
Residents who sign up can expect to have 20 to 30 seven-foot long solar power tubes installed to collect energy from sunlight.
“Then the heat collected from those goes through to your hot water tank and gets dispersed through heat exchange and that is how it heats up your water,” said Machado.
The system does not replace gas or electric heating but rather augments it to make it more efficient. According to the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, the Peace region is an ideal area for the systems because of the long days in the summer and the bright winters.
“In the winter time, it works just as well, pretty much as it would in the summer,” said Machado. “Even if you have six inches of snow on top of it, it still collects energy.”
The systems will cost anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000. Under the partnership, the city will be offering an overall 25 per cent discount on the equipment and installation as well as a helping hand to anyone who might be interested in trying out the new system.
“We think within the city and the surrounding community we are looking at (installing) about 30 systems,” said Machado. “I think it is great.”