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Solar Energy

Photovoltaic (PV) modules make electricity from sunlight and are marvellously simple, effective, and durable. They sit in the sun and, with no moving parts, can run your appliances, charge your batteries, or make energy for the utility grid! It’s difficult to find a product that combines the longevity and productivity of PV modules. When you buy them, you’re buying 40-plus years of electricity for a one-time cost. A PV array is the energy collector—the solar “generator.”

Is solar power right for you? Read the Solar Systems Simplified PDF or contact us for a consultation today.

The PDF explains the basic components and configurations for the four most common system options in solar electricity:

– PV-Direct
– Stand-alone (off-grid)
– Grid-tied with battery backup
– Batteryless grid-tied

Specific systems will vary—and not all equipment is necessary for every system type.

Interested in solar power? Contact us for a free consultation today.


small wind turbine

Wind-Electric Systems

Most of us love to watch wind turbines spin. However, these systems are also the most complicated, and thus expensive, to install.

Is wind power right for you? Read through the Wind-Electric System PDF, or contact us for a consultation today.


stream haliburton ontario

Microhydro-electric System

If you have a suitable site, harnessing the hydro energy in a stream or creek can be the most cost-effective way to make renewable electricity. Compared to the sun and wind’s variability, a stream’s flow is relatively consistent, making microhydro-electric system output the most predictable of all the renewable energy (RE) electrical systems.

Hydro resources are also the most site-specific, since your property must have a usable water source. If you are one of the lucky few with a stream running down your hillside, it’s the resource to assess first!

Is water power right for you? Read through the Water Power Simplified PDF or contact us for a consultation today.


Building a Solar Home: 5 Reasons to Add Solar Panels to Your New Build Home

In just one year, Canada had over 171,000 housing starts. If you’re one of these Canadians, then you’re probably embarking on an exciting milestone of building your own custom house.

When doing so, you’ll want to consider making it as eco-friendly as possible. One great way to do so is to add solar panels to it. That way, you can harvest the energy that’s already being expended on your house.

Are you curious about the benefits of solar panels? Then keep reading. Here are five good reasons for building a solar home.

1. Reduce Your Utility Bills

One of the best and most obvious reasons why you should get solar panels on a building is so you’ll save money in the long run. When you can go off-grid, even partially, you won’t have to pay a company for the energy you use anymore. Instead, you can generate your energy through solar panels.

In many cases, homeowners don’t have to pay a cent to these energy companies anymore. In fact, some can even sell excess energy to these companies and make a profit!

As you can see, while building a solar-powered home can entail some upfront costs, it’s worth it in the long term. Not only can you generate your own energy, but you can even sell the excess. Your solar panels will pay for themselves in no time.

2. It’s an Eco-Friendly Option

For those of you who are eco-conscious, you may be diligent about ways to reduce your carbon footprint. As you can imagine, solar panels are a very eco-friendly option, considering you’re taking and using energy that’s already expended from the sun on a daily basis. It’s also a renewable energy source that’ll never run out.

Not only are you converting wasted energy into something useful, but you’re also taking off some reliance on fossil fuels. These are finite resources, so the more people use alternative energy, the slower the drain on them. In addition, you’ll decrease fossil fuel emissions, which are harmful to both people and the environment.

3. It’s Now Very Affordable

If you’ve considered solar panels in the past, you may have balked at the prices. Around a decade ago, the technology was relatively new, which meant the costs for all the materials and installation were significantly high.

However, in 2016, it was estimated that in 2020, the cost of solar panels would be 90 percent lower than it was in 2010. This means that today, solar panels for new home construction is very accessible for most homeowners.

So if you’ve ever wished to have an eco-friendly home in the past but felt like the associated costs were too expensive for your budget, you can now revisit this concept. There are plenty of solar ideas for your home that definitely won’t break the bank.

4. Improve Your Home’s Value

If you’re planning on selling your home in the future, then building with solar panels is definitely a worthwhile investment. Practically any remodels you make on your property will only increase its value, as you’re making improvements that the next homeowners can enjoy.

When they see that these installations can help them save on utility bills by using green energy, this can be very attractive and a huge selling point. Not only will your home sell for a higher price, but it’ll also stand out against the other properties that are available.

When it comes time to sell your home and find a new one, you’ll have a much easier time. You’ll get to sell it for more, plus it probably won’t stay on the market for long, which allows for a quick sale.

5. They Don’t Require Much Maintenance

When it comes to installing anything on your home, one main concern may be how much maintenance it requires. For most homeowners, they want something that won’t take up their valuable leisure time when relaxing at home during the evenings and weekends.

The good news is once you’re done with the installation, you’ll barely have to give your solar panels a second thought. All you need to do is keep them clean; getting up on the roof and cleaning the panels just a handful of times a year is enough!

Plus, solar panels don’t move; they stay in place the entire time. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about wear and tear.

As a result, you probably won’t have to get many replacements or repairs done. The only exception is the inverter, which may need a replacement every five to 10 years. But this is pretty reasonable, considering it’s the part that’s always working to convert solar energy into usable energy for your home.

In addition, solar panels have a lifespan of around 25 years. So you won’t have to worry about another installation process for at least a few decades.

Building a Solar Home Can Save You Money

As you can see, building a solar home only comes with benefits. Not only is it now much more affordable than it was a decade ago, but solar panels also offer great cost-savings. Add in the fact that they can last for decades, and they’re definitely a worthwhile investment to make.

So if you’re starting a new build for your home and want to make it as best as possible, consider adding solar panels, especially if it’s within your budget to do so. They’ll instantly increase the value of your property and decrease your reliance on energy companies.

If you need help with solar home design plans, then get in touch with us now. We’ll even give you a free quote!


Benefits of Renewable Energy in Business: How Your Business Can Benefit From Alternative Energy Sources

Wondering what the benefits of renewable energy are for your business? Take a look at these top ways your business can benefit from alternative energy sources.

The competitive nature of business keeps business owners on their toes looking for ways to bundle out the competition. When stuff like aggressive branding, improved processes, and even subliminal jibes don’t work, companies are forced to think outside the box.

Smart businesses are now embracing alternative energy sources as a means to stay ahead of the competition. That’s because as the world becomes more environmentally-conscious, most consumers prefer companies in line with the green movement. The same companies also save a bundle in energy costs, which they can channel for other business needs.

There are other benefits of renewable energy for your business. Read on and find out why 17.3% of Canada’s energy comes from renewable sources. In this piece, we’ll look at how alternative sources of energy can be beneficial to your business. That way, you can jump into the renewable energy bandwagon and save the world while making a killing.

Benefits of Renewable Energy for Businesses

Canada uses about 522.20 billion kWh of energy each year. It’s safe to say that companies contribute a lot of this energy usage. While global energy consumption continues to skyrocket, the earth continues to take a beating from our outrageous energy demands.

Alternative energy is a sustainable way to meet our energy demands without hurting the environment. The best companies are at the forefront of utilizing renewable energy and not only for the environment but also for their benefit. Alternative sources of energy offer a host of many advantages that businesses can gain from.

Here are a few benefits of alternative energy:

Lowers Your Energy Bill

The most significant advantage of using renewable energy is that it dramatically lowers your energy bills. If you currently use natural gas or oil, you understand just how high prices can shoot up. The price rise translates to a hefty energy bill at the end of every month.

Switching to alternative sources of energy like solar energy is one way you can cut down your monthly energy bill. Consider installing solar panels at a one-time cost with no monthly expenses.

If your energy requirements are too large, you can use natural gas to supplement your solar energy setup. In doing so, you significantly reduce your energy bill while doing the environment a favor. Taking a feasibility study shows you just how much you can save from switching to renewable energy.

More Consistent Energy Supply

Adverse weather conditions can disrupt the power supply to your business. Depending on the nature of your business, power interruptions may be very bad for business. The longer the power interruption, the more money you stand to lose.

Though renewable energy sources also depend on the weather, they’re way more reliable than conventional energy sources. For instance, if one solar panel stops working, the rest still provide energy for your business operations.

Furthermore, it takes a shorter time to address any issues with your solar panels or windmills than it takes to fix the power grid. So with a renewable energy source, you have fewer interruptions for a smooth-running business.

Incredible Return on Investment

Admittedly, the initial costs of adopting a renewable energy form may be pretty steep. However, as a business owner, you’re most probably already familiar with the ROI concept. So although the installation costs are hefty, there’s much more you stand to save in the future.

Your business could save up to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Plus, not to mention the government incentives you’ll get for embracing green energy, which brings us to our next point.

You Benefit from the Government’s Green Energy Incentives

In a bid to promote the adoption of green energy, the government gives incentives for companies with renewable energy sources. These incentives include tax rebates, grants, and tax credits, among others.

So apart from saving a bundle on your energy bills, you also get money from these government incentives. Embrace alternative energy sources, and you may be eligible for green energy incentives.

Attract a New Customer Demographic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must be knowing that the green wave is sweeping over the world. As such, by adopting a green approach to energy production, you attract a huge demographic of environmentally-conscious consumers.

You can clamp down on millennials who are particularly keen on purchasing from environmentally-conscious companies. So when you embrace green energy, ensure you incorporate it in your marketing campaigns because it’s a selling point for your products.

Gives You an Edge Over the Competition

Having alternative forms of energy makes other companies look like archaic companies from the last century. Not a lot of companies have adopted renewable sources of energy. This just makes the companies seem like they’re stuck in the dark ages and are rigid to change.

Embracing renewable energy makes you more like a leader in your field.  It portrays a picture of a visionary and forward-thinking company. That’s beside the fact that you’re among a handful of companies that actually care about the environment.

Stimulate the Economy by Creating Employment

The green energy sector is an upcoming up sector that hasn’t quite gotten its footing in the economy. As such, it needs all the support it can get to establish itself in the country firmly.

By embracing renewable energy, you create jobs for dozens of people who work for these renewable energy firms. Indirectly, you also help stimulate the growth of these companies so that they can accommodate even more employees.

All in all, you’re doing these companies a favor and boosting the economy while you’re at it. You’ll also be an integral proponent of the green movement that’s sweeping across the world.

Everybody Wins With Renewable Energy

Your business has lots to gain from adopting alternative energy sources. Now that you’re acquainted with the benefits of renewable energy for businesses, it’s time to join the club.

The right renewable energy company is crucial for you to experience the said benefits. So only put your trust in a reputable company to help you make the switch to renewable energy.

If you want to adopt renewable energy for your business, contact us today, and we’ll help you make a seamless switch.


Go Off-Grid With Wind: How Wind Turbines Work to Help You Save Money

Depending on where you live or travel, you have likely seen collections of giant, tall, white wind turbines turning in sync somewhere along the way. Due to their height, they are visible from miles away and they are quite a sight to see.

Many countries around the world are using wind power to harness nature for local human benefit. People who drive by them often wonder how wind turbines work. The rotation of these gigantic windmills creates electricity, and this renewable energy is added to the power grid.

These wind turbines have only been popular in Canada for a few decades, but as people have become more interested in sustainability, they have become more numerous and noticeable.

As a result, many people are beginning to wonder how they can use wind power to their own advantage to help them power their homes and the things that they use in their everyday lives.

If you are someone who is interested in using wind power on your own property, read on to learn more.

How Wind Turbines Work: Large Wind Turbines

Many people wonder how wind turbines work. They are actually rather simple machines.

Even though a large wind turbine’s blades are massive, they are designed with aerodynamics in mind. As a result, with only a bit of wind, these giant propellers will begin turning and they will stay turning as long as the breeze continues.

The blades are connected to a rotor and as they turn, a shaft attached to the rotor turns as well. That rotor spins a generator, and the generator converts the kinetic energy, or movement energy, into stored, potential energy that can be used in other ways.

Today, Canada has over three hundred wind farms. From 2009 to 2019, it was Canada’s fastest-growing form of energy generation and with a focus on sustainability, our country continues to focus on this and other forms of renewable energy. Right now, there is enough wind energy being generated in Canada to power over three million Canadian homes.

Small Wind Turbines

Small wind turbines work in much the same way as the large-scale wind turbines, except they are far smaller. Large wind turbines’ blades can be as long as a soccer field, but small, home wind turbines are usually only about three meters in diameter or less.

As you might imagine, smaller wind turbines have a much lower output of energy than their giant counterparts. However, they still work hard and flow with the wind, and as a result, a single smaller wind turbine can often generate enough energy to power a home or small business.

Location, Location, Location

Because wind turbines create energy as a result of spinning in the wind, the best place to place them is in an area that gets a lot of wind on a regular basis.

You will often see large wind turbines at the tops of hills or mountains or placed in groups across a wide-open plain. The companies that set up these wind turbines do a great deal of research before construction to determine the best and most effective place for them

If you are going to install a small wind turbine on your property to generate power for your home or business, you will want to do the same type of research beforehand.

If your home is surrounded by tall trees, wind power might not be right for your property. However, if you notice a frequent and consistent breeze on most days, a small windmill could be a great investment for you.

Remember, your windmill will not be at ground level but rather at the top of a tall pole; there may be more wind above you than you ever feel or notice at ground level, so keep that in mind when making your decision and planning.

Should I Buy a Home Wind Turbine?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether a small wind turbine is right for you and for your home or business. You will want to think about all of them before making your purchase.

Wind

First and foremost, as explained above, the most important factor in the equation is wind. If the wind only blows near you when there is a storm, an investment in a wind turbine may not be worth it. It could take many years for your investment to pay for itself, let alone before you will see any real savings on your electric bill.

Fortunately, any reputable wind turbine dealer will be happy to come to your property to do a site assessment for you to find out if your property is a good candidate for wind power.

Cost

The cost of even small wind turbines can vary greatly based on how much power you hope to generate. As you might imagine, the higher the power capacity, the higher the cost of the turbine.

In addition to the turbine itself, you will also need to invest in other components such as the pole, cables, and installation. When you get a quote from a company, make sure that you understand what is included in the quote and whether or not there will be other, additional costs.

Zoning

Depending on where you live, you may need to get permission to construct a windmill on your property. Your area may have a limit on the height of structures, and if that limit is lower than you might like, this could be a potential obstacle to capturing the benefits of the wind.

Harness the Wind

A small wind turbine can be a great investment for the right property. On a windy site, after a short time, the turbine will pay for itself and then you will subsequently enjoy savings on your home or small business electric bill for years to come. It’s certainly something to consider.

Now that you know how wind turbines work and other valuable information about them, what are you waiting for? If you live in Ontario, we would love to answer your questions and then, get you started on the way. Contact us today! We can’t wait to hear from you.


Top 9 Reasons to Incorporate Commercial Solar Power into Your Business

Solar energy is more prevalent and more affordable than ever. Today there are over 2 million commercial and residential properties producing solar electricity. In Canada, 98% of the country’s solar power generation capacity is located in Ontario.

As you drive around your local neighbourhood, you’ll notice the number of homes sporting solar panels on their roofs. That number grows each year. You’ll also notice that many nearby businesses are doing the same.

But what about your business? Have you been considering going solar but still haven’t made the leap?

If you’ve been postponing the decision to go solar with your own business, there are many reasons to consider moving forward. Solar energy offers many benefits not only to homeowners but to business owners and the community as a whole.

Here are 9 reasons to consider commercial solar power for your own business:

 

1. Commercial Solar Power Provides a Great ROI

If you’re considering switching your company over to commercial solar power, but the cost is giving you pause, try to look at the change as an investment instead of just an expense.

Plus, the return on investment that you get from solar power over time frequently exceeds that of other investments you make in your business.

2. Reduce Your Overall Operating Expenses

Once you’ve paid off your commercial solar panels, you can enjoy a reduction of the expenses you pay each month for your business. These savings will add up to a lot over time.

Many business owners discover that the cost that they paid upfront to have solar panels installed will end up paying for itself in no time.

3. The Ability to Control Your Energy Bills

Any business owners know that it’s difficult to predict the upcoming month’s operating costs. You don’t know what kind of emergencies or unexpected scenarios will crop up.

when you install a solar project, however, you get rid of the unpredictability of fluctuating energy bills. This means that you know exactly what to expect each month and what you will pay to keep your building at a comfortable temperature.

Commercial solar power takes the guesswork out of budgeting for utilities, and you no longer need to worry about the rising cost of energy prices.

4. Increase Your Property’s Value

With the rise in the popularity of solar energy, commercial businesses that have solar panels sell more quickly and have higher property values than those without. This is unlikely to change since the demand for solar energy continues to grow.

If you’ve been on the fence about investing in commercial solar power, this is a big reason to consider moving forward.

5. Solar Panels Are More Affordable Than They’ve Ever Been

Though solar panels have been around for over a decade, the price of installation has dropped dramatically during that time.

Part of the reason for that is due to accelerated depreciation (Canada Class 43.1 and 43.2 of Schedule II to Canada’s Income Tax Regulations. Visit: https://ontario-solar-installers.ca/solar-panel-installers/accelerated-depreciation-for-commercial-solar/ ). These efforts have made solar energy systems more affordable for those who are interested in taking the plunge.

6. Free Up Your Cash Flow

If you do decide to invest in commercial solar power, once the panels are installed and running, you’ll immediately begin saving on your energy bill every month.

As you spend less of your money to the power company, you’ll have more money on hand after you’ve paid off the panels.

With this extra money, you can find new ways to invest in your business like beefing up your marketing efforts or spending more on employee appreciation efforts. It’s up to you!

7. Boost Your Brand’s Appeal

Many business owners are pleasantly surprised to find out just how much of a boost they’ve enjoyed from customers or potential customers who appreciate their efforts to go green.

Investing in solar sends out a message about how you do business. When you go with commercial solar power, you show that you care about the environment and about supporting sustainable sources of energy.

Whether you intend to spread this message or not, your customers, employees, and shareholders will be aware of this shift. Many others might be influenced to consider the benefits of having solar panels installed for themselves.

Plus, you yourself can feel good knowing you’re doing what you can to help preserve the environment. It’s a win-win situation.

8. Support Your Local Economy

By contracting with a solar panel installation company in your area, you’re helping boost your local economy. Many businesses have been hit hard in 2020 due to COVID-19.

If you’re already considering the many benefits that solar panel installation has to offer, why wait? You’ll reap the rewards right away while stimulating the economy.

9. Solar Panels Are Reliable and Low Maintenance

As if all these reasons to invest in commercial solar power weren’t enough, wait until you find out how low-maintenance the panels are.

Solar panels are practically maintenance-free and completely noiseless. The panels themselves are covered with protective, tempered glass and are framed with non-corrosive aluminum.

They are built for exposure to sun and rain, hail and snow.

Solar panels rarely break down and even if they do, most come with a warranty that lasts for many years.

Schedule Your Solar Installation Right Away

These 9 reasons to incorporate commercial solar power are hard to debate. Join the countless other business owners who have been enjoying the benefits that solar energy offers to them, their employees, their customers, and their community.

Contact us today with any questions you might have and to set up an appointment to discuss having panels installed. We’re looking forward to assisting you!


The Difference Between AC and DC Energy Sources: How It Affects GridZero

GridZero is a solar mode that allows a PV system to maximize renewable energy for a home’s total energy use. How is the difference between AC and DC involved?

No, AC/DC isn’t just a cool band from Australia with out-of-this-world guitar licks and soaring vocals. Believe it or not, the group gets its name from one of the most dynamic forces in the universe- ELECTRICITY!

But what is the difference between AC and DC- other than Edison stealing all of Tesla’s credit? And how does it affect various solar panel systems?

GridZero is a solar energy-saving mode that allows a PV system to maximize renewable energy. How is the difference between AC and DC involved?

What’s the Difference Between AC and DC?

Alternating current and direct current are everywhere around you. Though this is difficult to conceptualize, AC and DC are different types of voltage. Both of these forms of voltage is used for the conduction and transmission of electrical energy.

Electrical current is the free flow of charged particles in a system. When discussing AC or DC, these particles are electrons. But the flow of DC is different from that of AC in that DC flows in one direction, and AC flows back and forth.

A simple way to visualize the difference between AC and DC electricity is imagining DC as a line and AC as a wave. The reason AC flows in a wave pattern is that it oscillates back and forth, indicating both positive direction and negative direction.

Why AC?

The reason most of your gadgets and electrical components use AC instead of DC is that it can provide heaps more electricity across greater distances. The wave motion of AC is responsible for this efficient transfer.

On the other hand, off-grid power solutions often use DC because they don’t need to provide energy to far-away applications and DC currents can be stored, where AC cannot.

The solar panels produce DC electricity that can in turn be stored in batteries for later use.

Many applications use both AC and DC. For example, your laptop is receiving AC power and storing it as DC power. Your charger converts the AC from the plug into DC at the tip of the nozzle and transfers the energy to your computer as DC.

History

We all know Thomas Edison is widely credited with the modern usage of electricity. But Edison only discovered DC electricity. Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, discovered AC electricity, and thank God for him.

The rivalry between AC and DC goes back to the time of Edison and Tesla. Edison and Westinghouse were in a heated competition because Edison was dead set on the widespread use of DC. After all, Edison had patents on DC electricity.

In a smearing campaign, Edison resorted to killing animals with AC. The worst part- he succeeded in dissuading the public from using AC for a time. Many municipalities continued to power their towns with DC power. But the market prevails, and eventually, populations outgrew DC power.

In the late 19th century, the demand for electricity continued to increase past the means of supplying Dc electricity. Most of the reason DC energy can’t provide electricity across long distances is that it flows at such a low voltage and high current. AC power distributes power at higher voltages than DC power, so energy transfers easier.

Transformers

No, this isn’t about Optimus Prime and rock and roll. Transformers are the devices used for dropping AC’s voltage into the hundreds so it can power everyday electronics.  Since the invention of transformers, AC has been the primary electricity source for grid energy.

The Resurgence of DC Current

As we move to a more climate/environment-friendly society, the increasing demand for electric vehicles and wind energy may lead the charge to a more DC-driven world.

In preparation for this shift, scientists are looking at ways to charge car batteries and other electric based appliances that utilize batteries as DC to DC and remove the inefficiencies of AC to DC charging.

But the two currents working together in harmony is a far more realistic solution to the issues we face today. To believe that we will wake up tomorrow to an entirely DC efficient world is absurd. But waking up to a world where AC and DC work together in a more energy-efficient world is realistic.

Going Off the Grid

Because the likelihood of providing gridless energy to mass populations is low, companies seek more viable options that reduce our dependence on the grid. These strategies reduce consumption and could potentially eliminate exorbitant electric company rates.

There are innovative storage inverter options that handle PV, grid, and battery connections all at once. Connecting these devices to the grid allows continuous power instead of peak power.

How GridZero Works

GridZero is an example of this future. In GridZero mode, the Radian inverter provides AC electricity while remaining connected to AC as a power source. GricZero uses as much battery based DC energy as possible. The only time the inverter draws AC is when the battery banks state of charge is too low.

Get Your GridZero Today!

As a society, we’ve come a long way since Edison was electrocuting animals for his gain. But there’s no doubt we need renewable alternative energy sources now more than ever. GridZero is a glimpse into the future of DC/AC harmony. Hopefully, one day we can live in a world where the difference between AC and DC doesn’t matter.

Click here to find out how that world looks!


Think This Through: Which Is Better, Wind or Solar Power?

Do you know which is better, wind or solar power? Think carefully — there are many factors to consider. We’ll explain more in this article, so keep reading!

Ever wonder which is better, wind or solar power? Well, that’s a tough one, isn’t it?

When it comes to comparing multiple sources of energy production, there is a myriad of factors that need to be considered.

In this article, we will cover exactly that. If you want to know which is better, wind or solar power, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn more about solar panels and wind turbines.

How Does Solar and Wind Energy Work?

Solar energy and wind energy, both generate electricity through the medium of using the sun and the wind, respectively. In simple words, that’s about it.

Anyhow, in a little more depth, solar energy generates the electrical current through the capture of the sun’s light. It makes use of a concentrated solar thermal system, which captivates the radiation of the sun, which then heats a liquid in the panel that is used to drive the heat engine, and drive the function of a generator.

But that’s not it. Solar energy can also make use of a Photovoltaic System, which employs the use of a solar PV cell that absorbs the sunlight and then knocks electrons loose. Once the electrons flow, the current is created, and then captured for transfer into wires for electricity deliverance.

Oddly enough, wind energy is another format for solar energy. The reason it exists and works are based on three concurrent principles that have to happen without fault:

  1. The sun heating the atmosphere at irregular intervals and locations.
  2. The earth is not a perfect geometrical figure with equal sides and a lack of irregularities.
  3. The earth is under constant rotation.

So with these three principles, a turbine can make use of the side-effects of the sun to produce energy via another medium of mechanical movement.

The Types of Solar Energy Systems

As mentioned prior, solar energy comes in the forms of Solar Heating and Cooling & Photovoltaic. So let’s take a look at both in a little bit more detail.

Solar Heating & Cooling

Space cooling, space heating, water heating are the primary utility usages of most homeowners. SHC is an affordable solution to the traditional format of gas, and electric space cooling and heating in the home. But it can also be used, to heat water outside.

SHC employs the function of thermal collectors, which use heat to generate power rather than electricity. The solar collector consists of a flat plate, evacuated tube, air collector, and trough.

Photovoltaic

PV is the most common of the solar system, as well as the one most know about. It is applied in residential areas to take direct energy from the sun and convert it into electricity for the powering of all appliances and necessities within the home.

It can be used for lighting, cooling, heating, appliances, and practically anything that requires electricity.

The Types of Wind Energy Systems

Now what we certainly didn’t speak about are the two forms of the wind energy systems. And they are categorized into horizontal-axis and vertical-axis, as representing the form of their turbines.

Horizontal-Axis Turbines

Most wind turbines are horizontal-axis, and you are very likely to see them when going through the countryside. If you’eve ever passed a wind farm, they are the turbines with the propeller blades.

On average, they are about 80 feet high, as in that is the residential format in which they are used. That’s about twice the size of a telephone pole, pretty large by all counts.

Nonetheless, one turbine is powerful enough to power an entire home if necessary.

Vertical-Axis Turbines

The vertical-axis turbines are certainly more appealing, as they have a very sci-fi look to them. The most common of the vertical turbines is the Darrieus turbine, which looks like two archer bows back-to-back.

These turbines are difficult to mount on top of towers, so they are normally found at the base of a building or on top of it. Nonetheless, they are used in many locations around the world.

A Simple Look At Cost For Solar & Wind Energy

When it comes to comparing the two, cost is a thing to be considered. So let’s take a look at both.

Solar

The final cost for a residential solar system varies depending on a multitude of factors, such as the size of your home, location, panel manufacturing, and much more.

In any case, costs are down 70% in the past ten years!

There are no rebates, tax credits, etc. in Ontario or federally for Canada outside of energy projects that displace diesel generation.

Wind

Wind energy has greater upfront costs than solar energy. For wind turbines, economies of scale play a large role in decreasing costs.

The real strength of wind turbines is in the numbers, so that’s why we see wind farms, instead of singular wind turbines at each home. To save money, you first have to spend a lot.

So Which Is Better, Wind or Solar Power?

When it comes to choosing, the answer lies in your own question. Which is better wind or solar power? Well, that’s up to you to decide. The use case for each is similar, but the result is gravely different.

For instance, if you’re just looking to save money, and power your entire home solar energy is your best bet. Not only because it is more cost-effective, but because you get to store energy for the days when there’s not enough sun.

Wind turbines cannot be installed everywhere, some places just don’t get that much wind. So if you only have a single turbine, and you’re looking to power your home – you’re looking for trouble. They do have their use, but it’s probably not an effective solution for a general residence.

Going Off-Grid

Now that you know the differences between both, you can finally ascertain which is better, wind or solar power.

Solar and wind have their uses, so consider those and you’re already well on your way to knowing more than others. Wind speed and duration is inverse to sun hours over a calender year. Both solar and wind can work together effectively as a ‘hybrid generater system’ complimenting one another for secure whole power year round.

If you’re interested in either in the Ontario area, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs.


The Essential Checklist for Living Off the Grid

Living off the grid and being energy independent offers a reprieve from many of society’s undesirable stressors. Done properly you can have all the comforts of home and more.  For some, locking down a steady job for 40 years and retiring in a big community is ideal. However, there are those who see that lifestyle as more of a prison sentence than a life goal. For these people, falling in with society and joining the rat race seems pointless. Energy independence is a powerful thing. It liberates you. Living off-grid means that you are able to produce your own renewable energy to cover your unique needs and establish complete freedom. There is no feeling like it. You are able to power your entire lifestyle from natural sources.

Here are eight steps to an elevated lifestyle of complete energy independence!

  1. Find that perfect property on acreage. Consider what is important to you based on age and other independence goals.  IE if you are a gardener and plan a root cellar; so you can increase your own food independence, and you seldom like to go out for dinner or to other amenities, then being close to a town for convenience may not be as important to you.  On the other hand you may want to be sure you are in short distance to a doctor, hospital or other professional services. Clarify your needs and find the property that suits.
  2. Find a home design or hire a building technologist to assist in the design of your off grid home. The extent of choices will be budget dependent. EX a passive house will be more costly than a log home and a log home will be more costly than a stick home etc.  Know that your solar will be going on the ground and not the rooftop. During winter months you will need to adjust the angle of the solar array to 60 degrees from their summer angle of 30 degrees. This helps with snow shedding off the solar panels and increases solar production as solar cells produce optimally when the sun is at 90 degrees to the cell. For clarity the sun in the winter is a 23 degrees above the horizon whereas in the summer it is at 73 degrees above the horizon.
  3. Consider where the off grid equipment will go in the house. There will be batteries, an inverter and charge controllers and they all have to have a 36” area of separation between you and the front of the equipment in order to conform to the Electrical Safety Authority. Typically an 8’X 10’ utility room will work based on the balance of home equipment you will require (HRV, Load Panel, In Floor Heating, Furnace etc) but check with your provider to be sure you are planning well and there are no surprises.
  4. Determine your electrical profile. This is the most important thing you will do. Off Grid systems provide electricity as the product. As such, you need to know what you will be consuming in kWh per day, what is 120V verse 240V, what has a duty cycle (fridge, freezers, anything with a compressor) and what are the potential surge loads (power tools, pumps etc.). You do this through a simple spreadsheet wherein you list all the elements in the home that will use electricity and list their running watts, duration of use each day and how many days per week will it be used. Pumps are a big load so be sure to oversize your pressure tank so the pump runs less frequently. If you need a sewage pump for example always look for slow start pumps so the surge is not as impulsive. Don’t forget things that run 24/7 like your internet router or your PVR etc. If you have in floor heating get the number of circulation pumps from your designer and make sure they list slow start pumps for the contractor. This is a great list to develop your home from.  You will have many decision points that are intersections in the home design. Always being conscious of your electrical load and means to diminish it by making good choices can save you money in the long run and provide a more reliable system.
  5. Once the load analysis is completed you can start shaping your system. Your battery bank comes first as it has to store enough energy for 1.5 days. The size, type and cost of your battery storage is dependent on the kWh of energy you need per day. This number is sourced from your load analysis. With the battery bank size and type determined you now turn your attention to what could you be running all at the same time. EX – a typical morning has Mom having a shower and the pump comes on and daughter number one is blow drying her hair while daughter number two is using the hair straightener and Dad is putting coffee on and firing up the pancake grill. This is called continuous watts and your inverter has to be sized to accommodate it.
  1. How hands on do you want to be with your Off Grid system. You may be the type of people that want to be hands on – monitoring the system and making power choices based on battery voltage and the weather forecast. Or perhaps you want to live with your Off Grid system as though you were on the grid – doing what you want when you want with a power system that is fully automated to accommodate you.
  2. Perhaps you have exceptional loads like a large shop that you work in from time to time or you have a hobby business that needs compressors etc. You can be off grid and remain connected to the grid in the background. Your Off Grid system will open the valve (sic) to the grid to get that extra energy for those exceptional loads from time to time. You can have the best of both worlds.
  3. Assessing the site for solar access is critical. You need sun directly on the panels so having an area that is 180’ across and 120’ out as an arc from the center of the solar array is ideal.  Other configurations work – you may need to add more panels so you capture what you need in a shorter time. Alternatively you can change battery chemistry to a battery that charges faster and may require less solar. Perhaps you have a good source of water power. Each site is different and the assessment of it for alternative energy production is an important factor.

Going Off Grid and incorporating energy independence into your lifestyle is incredibly liberating. You run anything off grid – from steam baths to induction stoves to the Man Shop. It all works – but only if it is well planned.

Looking for Information and Advice About Renewable Energy?

Are you thinking about transitioning to an off-grid lifestyle? If so, please make sure you hit every item on our checklist for living off the grid. There’s a lot to consider if you’re going to disconnect from the rest of society and live remotely.

Just remember to prioritise your health and safety above all else. Check out some of our other informative articles before you go. And if you’re ready to look into solar and/or wind energy, contact us today to get started!