Bet­ter way to face power out­ages

PressReader - Tke Channel - Bet­ter way to face power out­ages
Many peo­ple who suf­fered dur­ing the re­cent power out­ages may be con­sid­er­ing the pur­chase of a gen­er­a­tor. For about $800, it pro­duces enough elec­tric­ity to keep the fridge, freezer, lights and fur­nace fan work­ing with some to spare for heat­ing up meals and cof­fee. But it uses so much gaso­line that it can­not com­pete with Hy­dro Ot­tawa’s price of elec­tric­ity af­ter the power is re­stored. We end up with an $800 ma­chine do­ing noth­ing ex­cept wait­ing for the next out­age.Imag­ine a gen­er­a­tor with zero fuel cost; so­lar pan­els are just that. In­stalling them on your house is bet­ter than in­vest­ing in a gaso­line gen­er­a­tor that sits in the garage rust­ing.Economies of scale with so­lar on a com­mer­cial build­ing can re­sult in elec­tric­ity prices com­pet­i­tive with Hy­dro Ot­tawa.Our re­cent anal­y­sis of a so­lar in­stal­la­tion on a mid­sized of­fice build­ing in Ot­tawa gave a re­turn of 6.3 per cent per year. Dur­ing an out­age, the so­lar only gen­er­ates dur­ing the day, so we even in­cluded a bat­tery to keep the lights on for peo­ple work­ing into the evening.Elec­tric­ity prices mostly rise, whereas the price of so­lar pan­els con­tin­ues to drop, mak­ing it in­creas­ingly wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion. David Wright, pro­fes­sor in so­lar eco­nomics, Telfer School of Man­age­ment, Univer­sity of Ot­tawa

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