Harnessing the sun
Home solar power information sessions in Cape Breton this month
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.
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.