Lacombe residents Harvey and Barbara Glasier are looking forward to reaping the rewards of having solar panels installed in their home on Edith Avenue – a first for the City.
The inspiration to do so came partly from their years living in Dawson Creek, B.C.
“We moved here three years ago from Dawson Creek, and they have a non-profit called the Peace Energy Co-operative,” explained Harvey. ”It’s basically a group of green energy-minded people. Originally, the Co-op had done some wind studies, and were instrumental in getting a wind farm put up on a ridge around the community.
“We are members of the Co-op, and over a number of years there has been some learning going on. So once they got the wind farm done, they turned their focus to solar – and they have been working on the largest solar project in B.C. They are just finishing it up in the small town of Hudson’s Hope.”
Through the couple’s association with the Co-op, an interest in further exploring types of green energy was certainly developed. “When we came here, it was always in the back of our minds to do this some time. And so this was it,” he added with a laugh.
The newly-installed 22 solar panels are indeed an exciting step ahead for the couple. They just ‘flipped the switch’ a couple of weeks ago and are adjusting to their new source of energy. They are also looking forward to seeing what the overall impact is in terms of expenses, too.
According to the Co-op’s web site, “A roof-mounted grid-tie system is the most cost-effective way to go solar.
“With a grid-tie system, as soon as you flick the ‘on’ switch and begin making solar electricity, the system begins to pay for itself by reducing your electrical bills.
“With a properly sized grid-tied system and an energy efficient home, office or cottage you cannot only reduce your electrical bill but (in some cases) completely eliminate it, while receiving income from your utility for the extra solar electricity produced by your system.”
Harvey said a meter lets then know when they are importing or exporting (energy) on a monthly basis. They can literally see, via their home computer, how the panels are working at any given time – and there are several things that affect power intake, from cloud cover to whether snow is even covering part or all of the panels as well.
Ultimately, the couple sees it as the ideal investment.
“I’m going to get the (expense) of this back, and in the meantime the value of my house has gone up,” he said, adding the government also has a rebate program in place which is based on the theoretical capacity of the system. Harvey also noted that the Central Alberta region is a great place for solar energy with the amount of sunshine that we do tend to get each year.
“A little over a quarter of the cost is rebated – I hope – I haven’t gotten my check yet,” he chuckled.
“In my estimation, our fees should be half on a yearly basis. They should be half of what they were.”
It will be interesting to see how it all pans out financially, he noted. It’s estimated that the couple will be exporting energy eight months of the year, and importing the remainder.
“When we are exporting (energy) – like during the summer – we will be producing more than what we need. So they will send us a cheque.”