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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