Are Solar Panels Normal?

When I graduated from Queen’s University in 1995 as a very young environmental idealist, I dreamed of a day when Solar Panels would be easily accessible – not a novelty item.  So began my epic journey into the Solar Industry.  Back then, hardly anyone had touched or seen a solar panel, let alone had them installed on the roofs of their homes.  We worked hard, taking our solar powered trailer to every home show, county fair and sometimes even to the local beer store to show people in our community how solar worked.

In 2008, we were honoured when David Suzuki came to our store . We were the first business in Kingston (and maybe even Ontario) to feed solar and wind power back into the electricity grid.  As he stood next to me, I realized my solar dreams were slowing coming true. Imagine, little ol’ me – shaking hands with David Suzuki at our store!  Check out Cam Mather’s video on the event – but more on that later.

I sat down with a good friend and our Solar Engineer, Jason Wamboldt, and we came to some very interesting conclusions.

1) The Ontario Power Authority, released a long term energy report in 2013.  In that report it says that the price of delivered electricity in Ontario will rise to 20 cents/kilowatt hour in 2015 and continue to rise to 25 cents/kilowatt hour by 2022.  Take a closer look at your Electricity Bill – you’ll see that they are right!

2) With a south facing roof, we can install solar panels on your roof for around 18 cents per kilowatt hour.  Yes, you read that correctly, Solar Electricity is cheaper then regular electricity!

Jittery with excitement about this newly discovered fact, I thought it would be interesting to share this with my niece and nephew, seeing as they are the next generation that will benefit from cleaner forms of energy.  Then I remembered a trip we took to Toronto awhile back.  I thought it would be intriguing to stop and show them the Solar Panel installation by the Napanee Good Year plant.  Much to my dismay when I stop the car, I discover that they are on their phones in the back seat.  They were completely oblivious to all of my mind-blowing explanations of how solar panels work.  So, I asked them why they were not more excited, and their answer was very interesting.  “Well Uncle Brad, Papa (their Grandfather) has Solar Panels on his roof, Dad has them on his roof and you work with Solar Panels everyday.”  I paused for a minute and replied, “So, is this normal to you?”  They replied, “Yes!”



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