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So far SSREC has created 24 blog entries.
21 05, 2024

Annual General Meeting (virtual) June 12, 2024; 7 – 8:30 pm Pacific Time

By |2024-05-21T13:07:31-07:00May 21st, 2024|Categories: Meetings, SSREC News|Tags: |

Hello SSREC members and other solar enthusiasts – our AGM is coming up!

Annual General Meeting (virtual)
June 12, 2024
7 – 8:30 pm Pacific Time

We have a great guest speaker, Karl Rábago, from Rabagoenergy LLC.

Karl will kick off the meeting at 7 pm, followed by our business meeting, including updates on BCHydro consultations.

Karl Rábago : ‘The Value of Solar – to you, the grid and the globe’

Feel free to submit your questions to Karl, or the Board, prior to the AGM There will be lots of time for Q’s and A’s with Karl.

Zoom link will be sent to SSREC members a few days before the meeting.

Non-SSREC members are welcome, but please rsvp at, so we can send you the zoom link.

Everyone will be entering a waiting room and it may take some time for the organizer to let you in; hence we’d appreciate it if you could sign in a few minutes early.
Karl has extensive experience from over 150 Utilities Commission hearings, writing analyses and peer reviewed articles on everything solar, from the value of solar to rate design and everything in between. We’ll post his resume and activities on our website by the end of May at the latest.

Karl will be representing us, along our partners in the Community Solar Coalition, at the upcoming Net Metering rate proceedings, June 2024, at the BC Utilities Commission. Karl’s advice to us at a multi-session workshop that we have been participating in has been invaluable.

Watch our website and Facebook for more detailed information.

Hope to see you on June 12!

On behalf of the SSREC Board

SSREC has been supporting and advocating for solar power in the Southern Gulf Islands since 2018 Download Poster [PDF, 350KB]

6 02, 2024

SSREC Annual Report – April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023

By |2024-02-06T15:13:19-08:00February 6th, 2024|Categories: Annual Reports, SSREC News|



As of March 31, 2023 we had 178 shareholders (minus 1 deceased whose estate donated his share, and 1 member who moved away and was reimbursed) for a total of 176 active members.

As the market has changed, and the price of solar panels has decreased, it is no longer reasonable to do bulk purchases.

The main reasons for becoming a SSREC member now are:

i) support our general advocacy and education work;

ii) support our advocacy with BC Hydro and intervenor status with the BC Utilities Commission

iii) obtain an assessment of the solar capabilities of people’s location

iv) support community solar installation in the future.

The geographic distribution of membership, compared to 2021/22

Installations in 2022-2023

  • 7 members installed new solar on their homes this year.
  • We performed 48 assessments for our members and a few for non-members
  • The total number of systems for SSREC members at the end of March 2022 was 111. In addition, we had one member who moved to the east coast, and we reimbursed her share, and another who passed away and his estate donated his share.
  • The SSREC-supported systems have a total capacity of 870 kW (up from 826 kW in 2021/22), and produce about 900,500 kWh of electricity annually, up from 847,500 kWh in 2021/22.
  • The savings in carbon dioxide release over mega-hydro amount to 297 tonnes per year (up from 280 tonnes per year in 2020/21.
Screenshot SSREC Community Solar Installations in British Columbia


  1. Membership
  2. Governance
  3. Installations 2022-2023
  4. Status of Net Metering in BC
  5. New Net Metering Application by BC Hydro
  6. Engagement with BC Hydro
  7. Other Advocacy
  8. Public Education

Download Full Report [PDF]

25 09, 2023

Electric Vehicles and Solar Energy – Their Role in Climate Change Mitigation

By |2023-09-18T16:29:12-07:00September 25th, 2023|Categories: Articles|

By Tom Mommsen (SSREC)

1 – Preamble

As made perfectly clear in the recent reports from the IPCC, the world must stop burning stuff. Not in 2025 or 2030. Now. When emissions reductions were discussed in the early noughts, an annual 4% decrease – mainly of carbon dioxide (CO2) – would have put the lethal climate crisis monster back on its chain. Lots of talk, hardly any actions and increasing emissions followed, especially in Canada. By 2020, that number had increased to 7.6% emissions reductions per year and must include methane; instead, the earth’s atmosphere has seen a global increase of 6% in 2021, while still ignoring most large sources of methane. The planet has about seven years to get it together. No more delays. No more waiting for pies in the sky offering the perfect solutions.

CO2 mitigation curves 1.5 degrees C

Luckily, many powerful tools to mitigate the climate crisis, to decarbonize and to diminish its effects are already available: trees, eel grasses, mangroves, methane-munching bacteria, electricity from solar and wind, and electrified transportation, including electric vehicles (EVs), and of course, energy conservation, public transport, energy-saving housing and, first and foremost, abandoning the world’s addiction to fossil fuels.

It’s imperative to use as many of these tools as possible and use them wisely and properly. And, fortunately, they are not prohibitively expensive, especially considering what is at stake. In fact, one could argue that they are absolutely essential, considering what is at stake. However, none of these decarbonization routes support the status quo since they are clearly disruptive to business as usual. Thus, they are reviled by industries and their enablers busily perpetuating fairy tales about their own environmental prowess, banging on about transition fuels, praying at the altar of incrementalism, and by seeding misleading myths about their actions and the energy transition.

The globe has already experienced global warming exceeding 1.1 °C, while people are being deluged with inventively named, but frighteningly real, climate-change phenomena like atmospheric rivers, rain bombs, heat domes, derechos, fire clouds, together with more traditional ones – all reaching unprecedented extremes – like hurricanes, typhoons, water spouts, droughts, tornadoes and forest fires. And, of course, sea level rise and just for the record, the continuously rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, two of the most potent global warming agents. The one newly […]

18 09, 2023

Solar Energy and Battery Storage – A Primer

By |2023-09-18T15:55:00-07:00September 18th, 2023|Categories: Articles|

by Tom Mommsen, SSREC

Solar modules combined with batteries are increasingly popular – if somewhat expensive – because they allow homeowners and small businesses to generate and store their own emission-free electricity while saving on their electricity costs. Without battery backup, solar has two drawbacks: 1. it doesn’t generate any energy in the dark and 2. it stops generating electricity the moment the grid is interrupted. In a grid blackout, you’ll be sitting in the electrical dark, even though the sun may be shining. A small battery bank (and a smart inverter) solves both problems – for a price.

Why consider a battery?

Why should one consider a battery with a solar array purchase or post-solar purchase? A few reasons come to mind immediately, and they all have slightly different repercussions on battery demands and design.

  1. Use solar energy when the sun does not shine. It’s a daily event, where you will store excess solar energy in the battery and call upon that energy in the evening and at night. If the day wasn’t sunny enough to fill the battery, the battery could be topped up from the grid (for a price). This will cycle the battery daily, but the amount of energy stored should match or exceed your power demand (kW – i.e. how much power?) and length of time for your energy demand (kWh, i.e. for how long?).
  2. Backup during grid interruption. Extreme climate change events are increasingly creating havoc with grid reliability and grid interruptions are becoming more frequent and ever longer in duration. In this case, the batteries are called on relatively infrequently and for unknown periods. The 24 interruptions of 2022 in the Gulf Islands of BC, where the authors reside, ranged from a few minutes to three days. However, in one catastrophic interruption (in winter 2018), the grid was unavailable for 12 days. Such extremes are hard to handle with a battery.Focusing on the ‘minutes to 3-day’ interruptions, battery capacity should match the (reduced) demand during an emergency supporting freezers, fridge, router and some other devices (definitely not a plasma TV; not really the best time to fire up an electric sauna or dry your hair either!), where 3-5 kW power output should suffice, and perhaps 5-8 kWh per day may get you through the power outage – don’t forget that […]
17 07, 2023

SSREC’s Guide to BC Hydro’s Net Metering Questionnaire

By |2023-07-17T22:20:59-07:00July 17th, 2023|Categories: Advocacy, Articles|

Last March and April, BC Hydro held two workshops on net metering as part of a series of engagement activities for their net metering program. As part of the activities, a questionnaire was sent out to participants and net-metering customers to comment on possible policy changes. The questionnaire is now closed but it may be of interest to Co-op members and readers to learn more about the ins and outs of net metering policy-making; and SSREC’s position.

In short, SSREC’s position is: “For now, we should make a very strong effort to support the current net metering policy and NM rate and help the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) in their initiative to force BC Hydro to do a proper consultation on Virtual (Community) Net Metering”.

BC Hydro will be conducting net metering related engagement activities throughout 2023 – more information and updates are available at BC Hydro Net Metering Program. There are also a variety of ways you can get involved in rate design at BC Hydro.

Guide to respond to BC Hydro’s questionnaires on two Net metering sessions Mar/April 2023

Rank the compensation mechanisms in your order of preference.

Response: Traditional

Don’t rank the others because they are all unsuitable.

Rank each compensation mechanism in your order of preference for commercial customers:

Response: Traditional

Don’t rank the others as they are all unacceptable

General comments about compensation mechanisms

BCH hasn’t provided any evidence that the current system of compensating NM customers in kilowatt hours and reconciling at the end of the year is not working. The system works well for many reasons:

  • The currency of kilowatt hours makes sense as it encourages people to conserve energy and be aware of the energy they are using in the correct currency for energy
  • Compensation is not monetized, since it trades kWh for kWh, unless people have excess production over the year. Very few people do.
  • Reconciling over a year makes sense because of the seasonal variability in energy use, production and climate and it is the simplest
  • BCH should be compensating net metering customers for their personal outlay in providing energy to the grid – BCH does not consider the benefit of receiving almost emission-free energy with no outlay.
  • Energy input from NM customers […]
19 04, 2023

Musings on Capturing Solar Radiation with Solar Panels

By |2023-04-19T20:26:10-07:00April 19th, 2023|Categories: Articles|

By Tom Mommsen & Risa Smith

Capturing solar radiation with solar panels makes sense for a number of important reasons:

a. Conceptually: Input from the sun is fairly predictable, entirely free of charge and will last for a long time.

b. Economically: Solar modules produce electricity for residents at about half the cost of electrons delivered by BC Hydro or Fortis. And while residential rates are going up, solar costs continue to drop.

c. Environmentally: Solar modules have a very small carbon footprint. Over its complete life cycle (from mining and transport, through purification, module manufacture, framing, to cabling and installation), a solar panel will produce less than 6 g of CO2e per kWh, and the embedded energy is repaid in about 8 months of the panels’ 35+ years life cycle. The carbon emissions are at least 50 times lower than those from the supposedly emission-free large hydroelectric installations.

Dozens of peer-reviewed research articles in the last decade have confirmed that large hydro generates at least 300 g CO2e per kWh. Further, hydroelectric installations generate substantial amounts of methane (natural gas), a gas with a global warming potential 85-times higher than carbon dioxide. PV’s life cycle does not involve methane generation.

d. Politically: Widespread adoption of solar energy empowers people to think about energy differently, points to the importance of local control and responsibility of power generation and consumption. It also provides local energy security, while putting decisions on energy issues under individual and local control. This takes decisions and control out of the hands of remote energy managers and bankers who have neither understanding of nor commitment to local needs .

The energy consumers will evolve into producers/consumers (prosumer) that should result in mothballing antiquated ideas about unidirectional energy generation from centralized sites, transmission and distribution. These will be replaced with a more equitable distribution of energy generation.

(Modified from an article originally published in Galiano’s Active Page – March 2023) What is Solar Energy? Live Solar System Monitoring Dashboard

2 04, 2023

Musings on capturing solar energy to provide energy for a battery electric vehicle (BEV)

By |2023-04-02T18:59:01-07:00April 2nd, 2023|Categories: Articles|

By Tom Mommsen & Risa Smith

With British Columbia phasing out the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEV) in the next dozen years and switching to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), it’s interesting to look at solar in the context of ‘fuelling’ an electric vehicle.

On average, a personal car in BC travels ~15,000 km per year. Propelled by an internal combustion engine, the car will burn some 1350 L of gasoline each year, using 9 L/100 km, containing around 12,000 kWh of energy. Plus an allowance of about 20% is needed to get the fuel from the ground into the tank (pumping, cleaning, refining, transport etc.), for a total of 14,400 kWh year. This needs to be compared with the energy demand of a BEV that (a very conservative estimate) uses 18 kWh/100 km, plus another 15% of losses in energy conversions, for an annual total of 3200 kWh/15,000 km.

Figures 1a and bCalculating the cost of the fossil fuel is straightforward, multiplying the 1350 L/y by the average cost at the pump ($1.65/L) will give an expense of $ 2225/y, while the cost of BC grid electricity propelling a comparative BEV amounts to $ 403/y (3200 kWh @ $ 0.126/kWh; blended rate of tiers 1 & 2). This is 80% lower than the gasoline expenses for an ICEV (Fig. 1a): $ 1825 saved every year.

And, let’s face it, it may be a while before BC gasoline prices will reach as low as $ 1.65/L.

What if solar panels were installed to generate those 3200 kWh?

On Galiano, a 3.3 kW solar installation would be required, costing around $ 7500 (average), for 7 to 9 panels (depending on wattage), rails, inverter, cabling and installation. While this seems to be a rather large expense, one has to remember that annual savings of replacing gasoline with solar electrons (6.2 cents/kWh, i.e. about half the cost of grid electricity) amount to $ 2225/y.

In other words, the money for the solar installation would be paid back in 3.7 years, after which all transportation in the BEV would be free. Sounds like a sweet deal, that becomes even sweeter when the impending investment solar income tax credit (30%) is considered, which reduces the amortization period to 2.6 years.

With a life expectancy of 35 years for the solar array, one could drive the EV 32 years for free! You’d basically be pre-paying […]

20 03, 2023

Update on the workings and achievements of SSREC

By |2024-01-16T15:15:09-08:00March 20th, 2023|Categories: SSREC News|

SSREC encourages islanders to go solar and provides help along the way, from planning, advising, assessments and recommending the appropriate equipment to installation. And save a few bucks along the way. Luckily, apart from the installation, our volunteers, provide support free of charge and free of risk to coop members.

Shaded roof? Old shingles? Tight budget? Confused by the options? We’re ready to take the myths out of solar and help islanders understand the importance of solar energy and how to take charge of their energy demands and day-to-day usage.

At times, it may turn out that installing a heat pump, increasing insulation and/or reducing leakage of heat from windows, basements or an attic should precede ‘going solar’. To get the conversation started, please check out our website at and then email us at

In the last six years, SSREC has been instrumental in the installation of close to 110 solar arrays on roofs of residential and community buildings, and a few ground mounts around the Southern Gulf Islands. We’ve installed close to 3000 panels with a total capacity exceeding 850 kW. These PV arrays generate close to 900,000 kWh of electricity a year, while preventing the emission of almost 300 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year over hydroelectricity.

Further, readers should pay attention to the upcoming federal budget apparently providing details on a 30% personal income tax credit that will be applied to expenses on solar installations and battery backup systems.

Going solar has never been more timely and less expensive.

Photo by Erik Karits

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