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15 02, 2022

Canada Greener Homes Grant Assessments

By |2023-01-30T22:29:07-08:00February 15th, 2022|Categories: Grants, SSREC News|

Many of you may have applied for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, which provides up to $5,000 for energy efficient retrofits to your homes. These highly recommended grants include the ability to install solar energy systems ($1,000 per kW, to a maximum of 5 kW).  However, these applications require an assessment by a certified EnerGuide evaluator and this has been a bottleneck in people accessing these funds. 

SSREC has now arranged for a certified evaluator to come to Galiano, which is the first step in accessing these grants. If you have applied for the program and are interested in our evaluator coming to your home on Galiano please send an email to  Please indicate clearly if you are interested in installing solar as part or all of your retrofit. Note that the cost of evaluation is around $1,300 (ouch!), but the federal government will provide a $600 reimbursement on top of the grant (eventually). If you haven’t applied yet, there is still time to do so. It saves you money and is definitely good for the environment. Let us know and we’ll send you information on our assessor that is needed to complete the application. 


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 |2023-03-20T19:44:36-07:00March 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

10 10, 2022

Transition Roadmaps to 100% Renewable Energy for 145 Countries

By |2022-10-10T20:48:49-07:00October 10th, 2022|Categories: Solar News|

Another comprehensive overview report about the potential of renewable energy systems around the world was updated and published in June 2022. As stated in the report’s conclusion, “The world needs a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy to address air pollution, climate, and energy security issues. Here, roadmaps to transition 145 countries to 100% clean, renewable WWS (wind, water, solar) energy and storage across all energy sectors are developed. The full transition should occur no later than 2050, but ideally by 2035….”.

The full report can be viewed here:

Click to access 22-145Countries.pdf

The roadmap for Canada can be viewed here:

Click to access 21-WWS-Canada.pdf

Roadmaps for all countries and regions can be viewed here:

Previously published 2050 Vision infographic for Canada, based on findings from the same Stanford Roadmaps project:

10 10, 2022

Research Review Shows that 100% Renewable Energy Systems Worldwide is Feasible

By |2022-10-10T16:52:32-07:00October 10th, 2022|Categories: Solar News|

According to a major review of research on 100% renewable energy systems published in July 2022, “The main conclusion of the vast majority of 100% renewable energy systems studies is that such systems can power all energy in all regions of the world at low cost. As such, we do not need to rely on fossil fuels in the future. In the early 2020s, the consensus has increasingly become that solar PV and wind power will dominate the future energy system and new research increasingly shows that 100% renewable energy systems are not only feasible but also cost effective”.

This research review can be downloaded at:

16 02, 2022

Solar is booming all over. Where is BC?

By |2023-01-30T22:42:35-08:00February 16th, 2022|Categories: Solar News|

It looks like the German government is (finally) getting serious about decarbonizating their energy by massively investing equally in wind and solar energy and many other countries are doing likewise. Germany, which receives between 15 and 35% less sunshine than BC, already has 60,000 MW of solar PV. BC has a piddly 50 MW! Between now and 2030 – the period that the IPCC identified as absolutely critical (‘Code Red’ in their words) in getting a handle on climate change – Germany will install 15,500 MW of solar every year.

Adjusted for population, BC would be installing 950 MW of solar annually. This may sound like a lot, and let’s face it, it is, but we missed the ferry on decarbonization a long time ago. Now have to scramble to switch to non carbon-emitting energies like solar, wind and geothermal at 5-7% a year to meet BC’s climate commitments.

We are embarrassing laggards when it comes to cleaning up our energy arena, where almost 80% of the energy consumed still comes from burning fossil fuels – with about half going to transportation and another large proportion to heating water and buildings.

To stop burning stuff, we need to electrify. Installing those 950 MW solar on rooftops, box stores, parking lots, under transmission lines, on reservoirs (floatovoltacis), farms (agrivoltaics) and brown fields is highly feasible and would cost less than $2 billion a year. For every MW installed, BC would save over 1140 metric tonnes of CO2e over burning fossil fuels (methane, propane, gasoline, diesel) – that would go a rather long way to the urgently needed decarbonization of the BC energy system. It would also create about 15 local jobs for each MW.

The time to sit on the fence expired a couple of decades ago. We must act now, and it looks the little people have to lead the way while the politicians discuss transition fuels, or the rainbow colours of hydrogen and other pies in the sky. We have the tools, and the technology. Now we must find the will and money to handle the crisis. What are we waiting for?

Tom Mommsen & Risa Smith, SSREC

15 02, 2022

Solar Bulk Buy in 2022

By |2023-03-20T19:35:20-07:00February 15th, 2022|Categories: Bulk Purchases, SSREC News|

We are delighted to announce that SSREC is organizing a bulk buy of solar this year, although our approach has changed somewhat. Our volunteers were a little overwhelmed by the size and scope of our last bulk buy in 2020/2021 which was complicated by following strict Covid-19 protocols, those tedious supply chain issues and logistics challenges from having to juggle demand from half a dozen islands. Yes, it was frustrating, but in the end, solar is ‘up’ and doing its magic, supplying electricity from the sun quietly, reliably and inexpensively. This year, there will be less waiting for the installation since we plan to hit the virtual ‘order and install’ button as soon as we have commitments from 3 to 5 solar enthusiasts in one area. Regrettably, the smaller bulk means that ‘bulk’ discount will be smaller than in previous years, but still worth it.

If you are interested in going solar, please send an email to and we’ll do an initial free assessment of solar feasibility and start a conversation on what solar can do for you and answer any questions you may have about solar. If everything checks out and solar looks promising, we usually proceed to an on-site assessment to confirm measurements & status of roof, examine compatibility with your electrical system and perform an in-depth shading analysis – for a small fee. Only when you are completely happy with the information received, do we ask our installers for a binding quote for your solar system, including installation, registration with the utility and permitting – the works.  When contacting us, please provide a street address and  if google maps can’t find you or puts the marker into the middle of the shrubbery – as it often does around the islands – we will also need Latitude-Longitude coordinates. You can find those on your cell-phone. Or ask us for instructions on how to find the coordinates.


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