Jamble Magazine Green Economy – Green News

December 9, 2009

When Solar make sense

Category: Green News – Admin 8:39 pm

Solar power -  its abundant, clean and good for the environment providing electricity that is carbon free and renewable. But is it affordable? Hardly, if a homeowner were to install a 3 kw photo-voltaic solar panel on their rooftop the system would cost $30 000. ouch! But newly minted Toronto-based Pure Energies is out to provide a solution to residential customers eager to utilize their previously dormant rooftops and make a little money on the way. Pure Energies which designs, installs, finances and operates residential rooftop systems has partnered with Suntech Power and SMA America, the world’s largest supplier of solar panels and inverters. By working with subdivision builders, company CEO Zbigniew Barwicz says Pure Energies can deal in volume and provide free to homeowners systems that would normally cost $40,000 to $80,000. Pure Energies will derive income from Ontario Power Authority’s feed-in tariff, which pays 80 cents for every kilowatt hour generated by residential solar PV systems of 10 kilowatts or less, and pay a percentage to the homeowner. Pure Energies will enter into a 20-year lease arrangement with the homeowner, who can buy the system for $1 after the arrangement expires.

A roof must have south, west or east exposure and have at least 350 square feet of area for the solar panels, says Barwicz.  Marshall Homes, is developing a subdivision in Oshawa and their model home faces south and has 900 square feet of solar panels, which can handle a 10-kilowatt system and will yield the maximum $1,200 payback per year.

Pure Energies’ program offers an economically viable way for builders and homeowners to adopt solar PV technology at no cost. It also helps to reduce the environmental footprint of subdivisions and generate more revenue for the homeowner.

Craig Marshall

Courtesy of the Toronto Star

The lease-to-own system is gaining momentum in countries that provide government subsidies or incentives to invest in or install renewable home projects as nations try to limit their fossil fuel intake and kick-start a new ‘green’ economic sector. For all intents and purposes the ability to lease ones’ roof to a company that will use it to create clean energy is a great idea, but one has to consider that an 80 cent Feed-in Tariff (FIT) rate for photo-voltaic electricity generation needs to be paid by electricity rate-payers. With a projected cost increase of 25% for basic hydro over the next year it might actually turn out that the profits one thought they would be  experiencing from installing solar panels on their roof tops will actually mitigate the cost of paying for the electricity these massive Feed-in Tariffs create. The ironic thing is as more home owners choose to install Pure Energies panels the cost of electricity increases for everyone. But this could be a benign point considering electricity prices are expected to rise anyways. The rationality for a homeowner to lease their rooftop should be that if everyone’s electricity rates are increasing why not take advantage of the reason they are increasing (FIT) and make some money back from extremely expensive energy production.

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