Har­ness­ing the sun

Home so­lar power in­for­ma­tion ses­sions in Cape Bre­ton this month

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF news@cb­post.com

If you want to save the Earth or some money or some com­bi­na­tion of both, you’ll want to check out so­lar power co-op ses­sions planned for this month in Cape Bre­ton.

The Antigonish Com­mu­nity En­ergy Co-op­er­a­tive is bring­ing in­for­ma­tion on its en­ergy ini­tia­tive to Syd­ney and Lake Ainslie, fol­low­ing a re­cent group buy where 18 of the co-op­er­a­tive’s es­ti­mated 200 clients com­bined to save on clean en­ergy pur­chases.

“For some peo­ple it’s re­ally about the pocket book and they see the power rates go­ing up and up and they see that go­ing to a CEO,” said Pa­trick Yancey, com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor for the co-op.

“That re­ally up­sets peo­ple and so they want to take the power lit­er­ally in their own hands.”

For oth­ers, he said the choice to make the switch to so­lar power is about be­ing “con­cerned and con­vinced by the science” on cli­mate change.

“They feel that’s a re­al­ity and they re­ally want to do some­thing about it. If you are get­ting all your en­ergy needs from so­lar you are tak­ing a lot of coal and car­bon out of the air.”

A group buy dis­count would mean a home so­lar panel sys­tem that cov­ers the typ­i­cal en­ergy needs of a fam­ily of four will likely cost about $25,000.

“That is as­sum­ing you are get­ting heat from an­other source,” he said. “If your main heat is a heat pump so that might mean some more pan­els.”

Yancey said mem­bers have taken out loans to cover the sys­tem pur­chase price over a five to 10-year pe­riod.

“They are guar­an­teed for 25 years so you have free power for 15 years af­ter that, so it re­ally pays for it­self over time as long as you are able to make the ini­tial in­vest­ment.”

He said group mem­bers saved 10 to 15 per cent on the over­all price last time and they are hop­ing to do even bet­ter on the next buy.

“It all de­pends on how many peo­ple are in the group buy. The more we have, the bet­ter the price break.”

A $5 life­time mem­ber­ship fee gets you a free as­sess­ment from one of their in­stall­ers who will look at your house, the roof and your elec­tric bills be­fore ad­vis­ing you on a cor­rect so­lar sys­tem.

Based on that in­for­ma­tion you can de­cide to join the next group buy with a $500 de­posit, or not.

More in­for­ma­tion will be avail­able on Feb. 21 at the McCon­nell Li­brary in Syd­ney and Feb. 23 at the Lake Ainslie fire hall. Both ses­sions be­gin at 7 p.m.

Visit www.ace­coop.ca for more de­tails or search Antigonish Com­mu­nity En­ergy Co-op on Face­book.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Antigonish Com­mu­nity En­ergy Co-op­er­a­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor Pa­trick Yancey, left, and co-op pres­i­dent David Mor­gan snap a so­lar selfie in front of the co-op’s so­lar mo­bile last year. Co-op mem­bers will be in Cape Bre­ton to talk about its so­lar en­ergy home pro­grams later this month.

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