The homeowners at Sarilia are a shining example of sustainable living. As we grapple with the effects of global warming, our community is embracing energy efficient systems, including the use of solar panels (of which, 20% of Sarilia homeowners have installed), and grey water systems.
We recently chatted with a few of these homeowners, to find out why they’ve incorporated these systems into their homes, and what savings they’ve found.
Part 1 of the series is our Q&A with Ronn Lepage and focuses on solar power. Part 2 will include further Q&As with Sarilia residents, and their experiences with solar and grey water systems.
What were your own personal reasons for installing solar panels when you built your home?
We wanted to reduce our impact on the environment and save money.
What kind of savings have you seen as a result? What is the approximate payback period?
We have not had to pay for electricity since we installed the system. We generate approximately 7000 kWh per year of energy and we use about 5,000 a year in our home. Our payback period was about 5 years. We are on an older program—SaskPower ‘banks’ our excess production. I have now purchased an Electric Vehicle and will be able to use up the excess.
What year were the panels installed?
The panels were installed in June 2013 and SaskPower began accepting our energy in October 2013.
How has solar technology changed since then?
I’m not on top of the changes in the industry like I used to be. The productivity of the panels has increased significantly and the cost of panels has dropped. Regulations on installation are more stringent and SaskPower/Government assistance has decreased.
What do you wish more people knew about solar power?
Everyone with the capacity to install panels should do it—it is a very good return on investment, it is good for the environment and the self satisfaction of receiving SaskPower bills with zero net energy consumption is a very special feeling.
Do you have any advice for someone considering adding solar panels to their home?
Work with a qualified Solar Electric installer. The small extra up-front cost will ensure a safe and reliable system. We got four quotes from different installers, and selected Rock Paper Sun. I am very impressed with the service. Rock Paper Sun installed our system over 10 years ago and they still (at no cost) monitor our system for anything unusual.