Residential Solar System Reaches Milestone

The first solar-powered urban house on Canada’s west coast has generated 1 million watt-hours of electricity in its first 12 months of operation.

VICTORIA, British Columbia, CA, 2001-09-25 [SolarAccess.com] “We paid less for Hydro last month than our Internet connection,” says David Egles, owner of the PV house in Victoria and president of SOLTEK Solar Energy Ltd. His company installed the solar system to showcase the potential of green energy technology in Canada. The system consists of a 1 kilowatt array of Photowatt panels installed last summer on a south-facing roof. The solar energy is processed through a Trace inverter that synchronizes the incoming energy with utility supplied hydro power. The combination of PV panels and increased energy efficiency measures reduced the home’s total electricity bill to less than half of last year. The charges for June and July of this year equaled $28.50 per month. In summer, the Victoria home generated a daily average of 2.7 kWh to provide 30 percent of the family’s electricity demand. Over the year, the Victoria Solar House provided 10 percent of consumption by an average home of 10 MWh. The home power system shows Canadians that, with approval of their utility, they can generate green power for their own use. The house is grid-tied to take power from BC hydro at night and then the PV system cannot provide enough power. The house is protected from power outages as the PV system provides instantaneous backup in the event of grid failure during storms or earthquakes. Batteries at the house maintain sufficient power to run the refrigerator, lights and other essential circuits for days, and SOLTEK’s main office uses a similar back-up solar system which starts automatically when utility power fails. “Power outages don’t affect our computers or telephone capabilities,” explains Egles. “Talk about savings in staff frustration!” SOLTEK was established in 1985 and claims to be Canada’s largest remote energy company, selling one of every two PV modules for the Canadian marketplace. It is headquartered in Victoria, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

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