The Saturday session on solar power in Penticton was well attended with lecture halls filled to capacity.
It was exciting to see so many people who wanted to reduce (over a number of years) the cost of electricity to their homes or businesses.
It is notable, though, that if you look around Summerland, you could probably count the number of homes whose residents have invested in solar panel power on the fingers of both hands.
A lot of people are interested, as was an indication in Penticton, but few are willing to put up the $15,000 or more and wait 10 to 15 years for payback.
Most certainly adding photo-voltaic (PV) adds to the re-sale value of your home, but if you want something substantial back immediately, you will be somewhat disappointed.
There are, however, a number of ways of getting immediate payback:
1. You have the satisfaction of knowing that you are getting something for free – sunlight working for you.
2. The electrical energy you save that was supplied by hydro or gas, will reduce your environmental footprint.
3. The credit you should get from Summerland Power when you tie your solar panels into their grid, when you are producing excess power during the summer months, should offset some of the higher bills you would normally be getting during the winter months.
I would like to see those Summerlanders who are interested in installing solar panels on their homes or businesses, join in co-operative ventures as they do in Europe.
In Denmark, Holland, Germany, and other countries these types of co-ops are prominent.
Most are PV co-ops, but in Holland and Denmark, some groups have even ventured into wind energy, buying and servicing those huge off-shore wind turbines that you have undoubtedly seen on TV or in person.
A co-op would give you the power of numbers and would substantially decrease your initial capital costs.
I have an on-line petition if you would care to sign.
Perhaps we can even get Summerland Power to negate or reduce their $1000 start-up fee. https://community.sumofus.org/petitions/building-photo-voltaic-rooftop-co-operatives.