Places for People goes solar
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | Nov. 10, 2016|
An unassuming house on West Road in Minden Hills got a major upgrade recently that will help its owners, Places for People, save around $4,000 in energy costs.
Representatives from Places for People, Haliburton Solar and Wind and Churko Electric unveiled their latest 10kW Net Metering Project Monday morning, which consists of new ground-mounted poly-cell solar panels in the side yard and an inverter installed on the house.
Derek Beachli Construction was also a partner on the project.
The project will not only help them save money on energy costs, says Places for People’s property committee chair John Rogers, but allow the not-for-profit company to allocate additional resources to house maintenance and other projects.
There are currently two families in the West Road unit.
“This project and the money we saved [on this project] thanks to our partners is a big help,” Rogers said, referring to the nearly $6,000 in price reductions.
“We can’t thank them enough.”
Places for People president Max Ward said the Haliburton County Development Corporation provided them with $4,000 that went towards the project as well.
Brian Nash, owner of Haliburton Solar and Wind, didn’t say what the total cost of the metering project was, but net metering projects range from $28,000-$40,000 depending on site conditions and equipment prices.
The upgrades should last for about 40 years, Nash says, and opportunities to bolt more upgrades onto the existing renewable energy system are entirely possible.
A net-metered system allows for a property to generate its own electricity while remaining connected to the grid. Excess generated power can go back into the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn.
Nash says technologies in the renewable energy field are rapidly expanding every day, but the tools they installed for Places for People are tried and tested.
“There are lots of cool new bells and whistles, but we have a very strong belief in proven, reliable products. We don’t tend to be early adopters with our customers,” he said.
A request for proposal (RFP) was sent out earlier this year by Places for People. Four proposals were submitted. One of them came from a company in Peterborough, Rogers says, but ultimately, Haliburton Solar and Wind was the top bidder.
Construction began at the end of September after a series of preliminary studies on the Places for People’s other two properties, which assessed the homes’ solar compatibility.
Places for People builds affordable rental housing in Haliburton County for those at risk of homelessness.
Rising hydro costs were a big reason why they pursued an opportunity to build a net-metered system, Rogers says.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.