VICTORIA – Installing a solar system will pay for itself.
Brewis Electric knows from first-hand experience.
Before offering the system to customers, the company ran its own test case. It installed solar panels and sold the excess power to BC Hydro for credits. BC Hydro then applied those power credits against the company’s electric bill.
Brewis Electric has almost completely offset the cost of its power consumption, says Project Manager Greg White, adding “If you do this, you let the solar pay for itself.”
It’s a win-win situation, he notes, as BC Hydro gets another source of much-needed energy without investing in infrastructure, while the owner cuts energy costs while also increasing the value of the home or building.
The promise and savings of solar has encouraged Brewis Electric to now go full-on solar in its own operation and service offerings to clients.
White says technology continues to improve, and that the cost of solar has dropped 80 per cent in the last decade. Also, BC Hydro’s appetite for extra energy continues to increase.
Determining the return on a solar installation has been fairly complex. Effective installations can cost as little as $10,000. White can now produce the required specifications and pricing for a new solar energy system in a few minutes.
“We use the world’s most advanced assessment software,” he says.
To do that, all White needs is an address and the previous years’ energy consumption. With that information, White can determine the number of panels needed in that specific location in order to produce enough energy to off-set the usual energy bill.
Included in the estimate is a three-dimensional image of the building, details on relevant shade, roof angles, azimuth angle, site irradiance, and hours of annual sunlight. White notes people are surprised by how good the island is for solar energy, and there is indeed ample sunlight, despite the amount of rain that falls in the region annually.
This entered data produces figures showing the actual energy output per panel. The owner can then decide how many panels to install, based on their personal budget and how much BC Hydro will rebate.
Because excess energy is transferred to BC Hydro for credits which are redeemed as required, there is no need for battery storage. This further reduces cost and maintenance. Systems can be roof or ground mounted.
There is also an option for solar powered, on-site electrical vehicle charging stations. Electrical vehicles now account for 18 per cent of new vehicle sales, and Brewis Electric is also switching to electric vehicles.
To make the initial capital cost of solar more viable, Brewis Electric has developed a mortgage-based program to help homebuilders and buyers integrate.
“Solar is a one-time capital cost that provides free energy for the future and also adds an amenity that improves the building’s market value,” White says.