SSREC Logo with Blue Star Shapes
SSREC Logo with Blue Star Shapes
16 02, 2022

Solar is booming all over. Where is BC?

By |2022-03-10T16:00:01-08:00February 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

Canada Greener Homes Grant Assessments

By |2022-03-26T10:45:44-07:00February 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 SSRECcghg@gmail.com.  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. 

Contact: SSRECcghg@gmail.com

15 02, 2022

Solar Bulk Buy in 2022

By |2022-03-25T16:26:04-07:00February 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 SSRECinfo@gmail.com 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.

Contact: SSRECinfo@gmail.com

14 02, 2022

Update on Solar Installations

By |2022-03-10T15:59:47-08:00February 14th, 2022|Categories: SSREC News|

We’re very happy to report that SSREC has now installed more than 100 solar systems around the Salish Sea, with over 2500 solar panels (>800 kW) generating about 800,000 kWh of electricity a year. Most importantly, the combined annual savings in carbon emissions approach 200 metric tonnes of CO2e over electricity from hydropower.

Tom Mommsen & Risa Smith, SSREC

23 07, 2019

2019 Bulk Purchase/Installation of Solar Systems

By |2022-03-25T16:25:06-07:00July 23rd, 2019|Categories: Bulk Purchases, SSREC News|

The Salish Sea Renewable Energy Cooperative (SSREC) is a local cooperative of dedicated volunteers who are enthusiastic about solar energy and strive to decrease our carbon footprint and save some money along the way.

We are currently organizing another bulk purchase/installation of solar systems around the Salish Sea for our members

– to add to the 55 systems we helped install already

This is a great opportunity to join the solar revolution at a very competitive price. We’re here to help, provide information and do the preliminary work with you. We will be doing complimentary remote assessments during July and early August.

If you are interested please email SSRECinfo@gmail.com. If you would like to have a remote assessment, email us your street address or latitude and longitude coordinates and contact phone number to get things rolling.

Deadline for our 2019 bulk buy is September 30

Check out additional information at SSREC.org, where you can also find an application form to join the coop. Joining the coop is not essential for the remote assessment, but only members can participate in the bulk-purchase and there is a cost, yet to be determined, for the final on-site assessments.

10 03, 2019

Southern Gulf Islands: A Solar Powerhouse!

By |2022-03-10T15:57:09-08:00March 10th, 2019|Categories: Solar News|

Encouraged by earlier experiences with solar installations and by the obvious interest of fellow islanders, a few solar enthusiasts from the southern Gulf islands created a new cooperative – the Salish Sea Renewable Energy Cooperative, SSREC (pronounced Shrek!). We set out by presenting talks about solar energy and about our coop on five islands, expressing urgency to act on climate change mitigation and our hopes to organize a bulk-purchase of solar equipment and installation for the islands. We were amazed by the attendance – over 300 islanders came out to our presentations – and by the enthusiasm of the audiences for all things solar.

In record time, and after fielding hundreds of questions and doing almost a hundred solar assessments, this enthusiasm translated into a bulk purchase, the scale of which exceeded our wildest dreams. As of today, almost forty new residential solar projects have been installed on Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna and Saltspring, totalling over 800 panels with a capacity exceeding 250 kW. On a community level, this is the second largest installation in BC (after the 500 kW installation in Hudson’s Hope) – preventing the release of almost 200 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and saving the owners a lot of money on their electricity bills for the next 35 years or more.

Considering the existing community installations around the Southern Gulf Islands (Primary School and Recycling Centre on Pender, High School on Saltspring, Community Centre on Mayne, etc.), it is pretty obvious that the Southern Gulf Islands are turning into a solar powerhouse. Even though our islands are not generally considered an ideal area for solar in BC, we do receive at least 20% more solar radiation than acknowledged solar powers like Germany or France!

Net Metering

All new solar installations on the islands are grid-tied and administered through BC Hydro’s Net Metering programme. Net metering – as done by BC Hydro – meters the flow of electricity from the client into the grid (solar production) and from the grid (consumption over and above the solar production) for a year. This means that during the summer months, when solar production usually exceeds domestic consumption, credit builds up in BC Hydro’s accounts (in kWh). These excess kWh are then used up during the winter months when solar production is low and domestic demands tend to […]

1 06, 2018

SSREC to Present at Islands Trust Council on Saturna Island June 20th at 2:00 pm

By |2022-03-10T21:16:57-08:00June 1st, 2018|Categories: Presentations, SSREC News|

The subject of SSREC’s presentation is “Southern Gulf Islands Are Becoming a Solar Energy Powerhouse”.

The presenters will be SSREC Directors Tom Mommsen and Risa Smith.

Tom and Risa will talk about the large bulk-purchase of solar energy systems currently occurring on the Gulf Islands and the importance of this initiative to helping the Islands Trust meet its climate change goals.

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