Let’s all get solar panels! Loan me some, and I’ll promote your solar company.

Wayne National Forest Solar Panel Construction
Above, solar panel construction in Wayne National Forest, Ohio.

I know this is a ridiculous proposition, but if you never try, you never… experience rejection. I want solar panels for my abnormally long roof, but I can’t afford them yet. I propose a trade – in return for promotion, maybe a local or Canadian green energy company would like to  lend or donate to me some solar panels? I would at the very least like to heat all the building’s hot water using solar/light energy. Older equipment/ adjustments or swaps etc are fine; beggars can’t be choosers. Yes, it’s half-selfish, but I’d like to publicly demonstrate how much power one building can collect even in Vancouver’s rainy climate. Apparently as solar panel technology improves, significant amounts of energy can be collected even in less sunny weathers. As some readers know I live in what was once a small wooden mission church near Vancouver’s Chinatown. While it’s small for a church, it has a surprisingly large, long roof – perfect for solar panels. It would be interesting to get the building as off-the-grid as possible – but not entirely off the grid, since I’d like to participate in BC Hydro’s grid tie-in program by which any surplus energy produced can be fed back into the grid (explanatory pdf is here) for a credit. Only a very small number of British Columbians are currently doing this – less than a hundred. If the BC government won’t properly support green energy R&D, citizens have to! I’m so disappointed by the current BC government’s antediluvian attitude to green energy (Offshore drilling! Shale gas! Massive private damming/diversion projects on pristine BC rivers without any form of environmental assessment whatsoever, following the near-complete dismantling of the Environment Ministry! And massive gov’t subsidies for the development of all of these corporate projects, while virtually zilch for green energy startups! Go see the musical!). I would like to see far more forward-thinking local policy in terms of significant subsidies for green R&D, a field in which British Columbia could have been more of a world leader had our leaders been more visionary. We’re running out of time to capture that edge. We need to insist on more political will.

One of my favourite solar companies is Zomeworks of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in business since the late 60s, and I’ve written about them before. But these also seem interesting: Home Energy Solutions, Energy Alternatives of Victoria, BC;  and Canadian Solar in Ontario.

Photos are from sources worldwide via Flickr’s Creative Commons. Click on each photo for more information. Directly below, spot the solar panels in San Francisco.

Solar Panels

Above, the UK Embassy’s solar panels in Rome, by UK in Italy. Below, energy for a Thai village.

Village Solar Panel

Brighton Earthship Solar Panels

Above, solar panels on Brighton Earthship, a green development in the UK.

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5 Responses to “Let’s all get solar panels! Loan me some, and I’ll promote your solar company.”

  1. vicky husband Says:

    What a great idea. And it can be done here and should be done. Everyone should have a solar panel on their roof; they would be amazed at the electricity it would generate! Even on the rainy west coast of Vancouver Island with only 50 days of sun a year it’s surprising how much energy panels produce.

    British Columbians, we can do it. Make a loud noise about it. Save our rivers, save our salmon, wildlife and natural landscapes from privatization and development.

    and save us from shale gas, huge subsidized, by us, development in BC’s northeast, and the environmental damage it does and the huge water use and contamination.

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  3. LB Says:

    Not surprisingly, I’ve had no offers. I’m just going to have to save up and buy them, I guess.

  4. Sami Says:

    Amen on the shale gas, Vicky… Scary prospects as shown in “Gasland” and “Burning Water”, two must-see recent documentaries on the subject.

    As far as solar panels, water heaters might be the first investment one might want to make (as opposed to photovoltaic) because they’re a much more efficient way of harvesting solar power. In Barcelona, municipal law requires all new buildings to include this type of solar heating iirc. Also, it might be more efficient to canvass the BC interior with solar panels and use hydro for coastal areas.

  5. Tyrell Pih Says:

    This is a great read. I have had a job in the photovoltaics industry for over 14 years and it is insane how fast the game is progressing. For the majority of us this is a really exhilarating moment of history so let’s strive to keep up the pace.

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