Solar Colwood a bright solution for energy conservation

In this age of environmental awareness, we are morally bound to treat mother nature more kindly than we have in the past.

I have read many of the negative comments concerning the Solar Colwood program and feel morally obliged to offer a rebuttal. I am disappointed that Solar Colwood, a pro-active and innovative program, is facing criticism when instead it should be recognized for the “thinking out of the box” program it is.

Some critics like to point to the costs associated with the implementation of the program.  I’d argue that they are a “drop in the bucket” in the grand scheme of things. The participants can see tangible results almost immediately, unlike some government expenditures. The energy spent opposing this program could be better directed at the provincial government for pillaging the BC Hydro coffers. It all screams of complaining for the sake of complaining and personal vendettas. Sure there may be wrinkles in the program but what new innovative program doesn’t have it’s fair share of growing pains? Give it a chance.

We have long enjoyed relatively cheap electricity rates in British Columbia but with increased demand we face massive infrastructure upgrades. We have a choice: either build new hydro dams or reduce demand through conservation. Conservation measures are much less costly than dam building, so for me the choice is clear. In any case, it’s inevitable that rates will rise sharply. Are we prepared to deal with increased hydro costs or just whine about paying our bills? I say be innovative, conserve and upgrade. It’s either spending more on hydro or try to fix, or at the very least control, costs by completing heating upgrades. Either way you’re going to pay, the difference being in the later scenario you have more control. I would argue it’s smarter to support Solar Colwood, throw on a sweater, and change energy consumption behaviours.

In the last seven months I have installed a ductless heat pump and solar hot water system and have taken advantage of the grants offered. I have recorded the daily electricity usage since the first installation and compared it to last year’s usage. Our household usage of electricity has declined by 15% from the November-May billing period. This translates to a 4679 Kwh decrease in consumption. With the largest decrease in consumption being the April-May 2012 billing period of 86 kwh per day from 140 kwh per day in 2011.

Please note that the savings from the solar hot water system haven’t really factored in since we haven’t had any sustained sunny weather. This can be confirmed by comparing B.C. Hydro data.

In this age of environmental awareness, we are morally bound to treat mother nature more kindly than we have in the past, and reducing our energy consumption is one of the easier measures we can all take.

My family would like to thank all of the persons associated with Solar Colwood.  Solar Colwood should be commended for providing middle class families the ability to participate in technologies only the privileged could previously afford.   I’m a firm believer that the Solar Colwood program should be implemented nationally.  Colwood should be recognized as a progressive leader in supporting sustainable solar/energy efficient technologies.  The decreased residential hydro demand and resulting diminished carbon footprint, economic stimulation and long term cost savings for homeowners and businesses should be enough to emulate the program nationally.

Keith Encinas

Colwood

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