Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Going solar not so crazy

There is a pretty sweet incentive to “go solar.”

In answer to Mr. Thorsteinson’s letter (Penticton Western News, Jan. 12, Alternative energy), and his thoughts on alternative energy, we can relay some of our experiences with solar power.

He states that wind turbines and solar energy are years away from being realistic in Canada, and that solar panels on every house would be hard for the government to promote to the public.

If you ask us, having a total energy bill for the years 2016-2017 amounting to $46.52 is a pretty sweet incentive to “go solar.” That’s right; we paid $46.52 to power our entire 2,600 square foot home for two years. We cut our natural gas ties with Fortis in 2015 to go all-electric.

Our experience with solar panels has been nothing short of excellent. In 2014, we began adding solar panels to our home, completing the installations in 2016. In 2013 (our last year before solar), our gas and electric bills totalled $3,140.11. Add in yearly increases and our energy costs for gas and electric now would likely be around $4,000.

When we first purchased solar panels in 2014, they were a lot more expensive than they are today. We paid over $40,000 for our 40-panel solar system, but today you can buy the same 40 panels for under $30,000. Panels are even more efficient today, and a homeowner might only need 20 panels.

From March to October, we produce more power than we need. We send the excess power back to Fortis and any credit we accumulate through those months goes toward our winter bills.

Coal, oil and natural gas; the government wants us to conserve these fuels and so they slap a carbon tax on them. Why not promote electric cars and rooftop solar in a big way? Isn’t that conservation? No carbon. Need another reason to consider solar? The sun hasn’t raised it energy rates in over 4.5 billion years.

One of the main reasons government doesn’t promote solar is that they simply can’t make any money on solar consumers. Don’t expect any government grants for solar anytime soon. Yes, there is still room for carbon fuels as people slowly transition to greener energy sources, but to say that solar and other alternatives are not viable is simply not true.

Julie Turner and Paul McCavour


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