By Darren Lum
Published Nov. 24 2016
The sunny day was perfect for Places for People to showcase how it will be harnessing solar power at its Carnarvon residence home to two families.
The Haliburton-based non-profit provides affordable housing.
Places president Max Ward and their property committee chairman John Rogers thanked local company Haliburton Solar and Wind and its partnering trade companies Derek Beachli Construction and Churko Electric for their work in installing the 10kW Net Metering Project a ground-mounted arrays (two sets of 20 solar panels) off to the side of the house and an inverter.
Brian Nash owner of Haliburton Solar and Wind welcomed the opportunity to help reduce the costs for Places for People which he calls an “important community organization.”
“Hydro rates are just extraordinary now and they’re a burden to so many people. Places for People wouldn’t be an exception to that so they were looking for ways and means of trying to reduce that forward cost to create a more secure situation for their tenants meaning that it’s more financially secure and more financially sound and easier to manage” he said.
Part of a collaborative effort to bring a 10kW Net Metering Project the house will produce 15 to 17 megawatts annually and reduce electricity consumption by close to two-thirds translating into $3600 to $4100 of savings annually. This system requires nothing from the renters and will generate the greatest amount of power during high sun hour months from May to September.
Nash explained the system works without any input from the residents.
“Whatever they need in addition to what the solar is making they’ll pull from the grid and whatever they’re making that is in excess the house needs will go back out to the grid” he said.
The companies reduced their costs totalling $6000 equal to 10 to 15 per cent from their usual pricing to help Places for People.
Nash said his company works exclusively with local companies Derek Beachli Construction and Churko Electric.
“We as a group all appreciate what Places for People do for our community so we worked together and sat down and said how can we make this work and benefit the community and ensure that they have a local firm to look after this on a forward basis” he said.
Rogers was pleased with the savings.
“Competitive pricing is what’s important from our organizational point of view. We weren’t going to pick someone local if they’re super expensive. Brian came to us with a very good price. He’s done a very good job for us” he said.
This system is also being used at the Abbey Gardens community hub building.
The project was opened up for bidding through the request for proposal process. There were four proposals from three companies including one Peterborough-based company. Nash and his partners were the successful bidders.
Rogers adds this project was partially funded by the Haliburton County Development Corporation who contributed close to 10 per cent of the total cost for the project. He said HCDC provided a $4500 Local Initiatives Program grant.
Before the project was installed by Haliburton Solar and Wind Nash was hired to conduct an assessment of all three residential sites (Haliburton Minden and Carnarvon) for alternative energy production. Carnarvon was considered the most ideal. The assessment revealed Haliburton is a solid prospect and will be considered for similar work. Unfortunately the location of the Minden home does not have the potential for any alternative energy production. From now on Places will be considering future sites with the necessary criteria for alternative energy production.
Haliburton Solar and Wind is inviting the public to see them at their new location at Abbey Gardens on Dec. 1. They are housed in a sustainable building constructed by the students of Fleming College’s sustainable building program employing an off-grid system. This project is comprised of just two pieces of equipment: the solar panels and the inverter.
Nash pointed out the inverter they have is not just warrantied but is modular which enables quick repair with the replacement of a module if one were to fail.
“Simple is best sort of thing” he said.