Installing Renewable Energy Systems

Installing Renewable Energy Systems

Hello, I’m Ken Traynor. I
work with the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Op. Today I’m going to talking about installing
solar photovoltaic systems that produce electricity. I’m also going to be talking about solar
thermal systems which produce hot water from the sun. When we use natural gas to heat our
hot water for example we’re dumping the particular matter and greenhouse gas emissions
right into our own backyard. We can make a significant impact on reducing the greenhouse
gas emissions in Toronto if we take advantage of the power of the sun. So a lot of people
wonder if there is enough sunshine in Toronto to take advantage of solar power. Toronto
gets more usable energy then Miami for example the sunshine capital of the United States.
And we have significant amount more then Germany which is currently a world leader in utilizing
solar energy. Buying a solar system is not a straightforward process and that’s one
of the advantages of working with others through a buying group. I basically attending a public
meeting, they held some meetings down at the civic center down here and got some information,
and I guess, you know I was probably a pretty easy sell. The meetings are an information
meeting where we show the products, the solar panels, the inverter to give people an idea
of the equipment itself. We also discuss the package that we’ve put together for the
rise again groups. It’s really important to get a good well functioning steering committee
because there’s a lot of jobs that need to be done. Your steering committee is there
to make sure the process moves forward to maintain the relationship with the vendor.
The vendor is ultimately responsible for insuring that all the permits are done. Those permits
include: A building permit for both solar hot water and solar PV from the City of Toronto,
a plumbing permit from the City of Toronto, you need to have the inspections done by the
Electrical Safety Authority, the vendor is also responsible for liaising with the Ontario
Power Authority for your Feed-In-Tariff Program contract, as well as with Toronto Hydro. The
vendor will prepare all the documents you need but the homeowner has to actually sign
the building permits themselves to say that the information is accurate. Once those permits
are signed and submitted to the city of Toronto, then the installation can get going. The installation
tends to take 1 to 2 days for completion. After that the vendor will work with the homeowner
to give them an orientation to the system. In May of 2009 the Green Energy and Green
Economy Act was passed by the Legislator of Ontario and it created a new feed in tariff
program. Under that program people who install solar electricity systems will be paid 80.2
cents per kilowatt hour to produce electricity and that’s a price not matched anywhere
else in the world. So a solar energy system is a significant investment but what the Green
Energy Act has done is turned that significant investment into one with a return that should
average about 8%. There has never been a better time to go solar. The EcoEnergy program offers
a grant of $1250 for a Solar Thermal system and the Ontario Government matches that so
there’s a total grant of $2500 and the PST is rebated on both Solar PV systems and
Solar Thermal systems. One of the key things that you get by participating with Our Power
is both access to the information on the Our Power website as well as each individual group.
So for example if you were interested in starting a group you can sign up right away. We’ll
send you a community tool kit that has detailed information about how to get a project started
and a lot of information on the experience of other groups in the past. Toronto is in
for a huge growth on solar, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a great time to
go solar because the systems are affordable, the returns are excellent, and the environmental
benefits start as soon as you install the system.

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