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I have to say that I love being a Canadian. As far as I know being a Canadian is like winning the lottery and the good people at the “Better Life Index” tend to agree with me. I tend to think that everything is better in Canada. I mean the health care is free, the bio diversity is amazing, it’s peaceful.
I like to think that Canadians know how to do things. I mean we built the Canada Arm, that took a bit of engineering. But I must admit when it comes to energy it’s kind of embarrassing to admit I’m from the great, white North.
Canadians use more energy per capita than any other country in the world. There it’s been said and goodness it’s depressing. The average home in Ontario uses 12 000 kWh a year. Go look at the light bulb beside you right now. I’m assuming you have a David Suzuki approved CFL bulb that only uses like 17 W there. Please say you do. If you keep that light on for the next 100 hours you’ll have used 1.7 kilowatt hours.
I guess putting it like that it doesn’t seem like 12 000 kWh is a lot. Clothing dryers on average use 5 400 W. Run one of those for an hour and you’ll have used 5kWh. But there are only 13.5 million people in Ontario. Right now the worldwide population has just tipped the scales at 7 billion. If every person on the planet used energy like those in Ontario the world would need roughly 84 TW. Luckily not everyone uses energy like a Canadian.
So where is all this energy coming from? No matter what side of the pipeline debate you’re on the realization that we are having to dig deeper to find oil is apparent. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, there is only so much fossil fuel left underneath us.
In Canada 16% of our energy comes from green energy. So I have to ask, how much energy does the sun give off? 174 000 000 000 000 000 W or 174 PW. That’s a lot of light bulbs. Unlike wind turbines that are big and need lots of space and can produce vibrations and sounds that upset those around them, everybody likes the sun.
What’s the number one reason we vacation down south for the winter? No it’s not cheap alcohol, it’s the sun. Everybody loves the sun. When was the last time you told your kids, “Don’t go outside today it’s too sunny out there.”? Have you ever told them not to stay outside too long because of the heat? Burning less oil and sending less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere also means less smog/heat advisory days.
The sun is an amazing thing. The sun can disinfect water. Leave a PET bottle of water out in the sun and after several hours it will be safe to drink. Solar energy is used in North America and Australia to heat water for both residential and commercial use.
Do you know what colour solar panels are? Black. Does all the equipment used to attach the solar panels to a roof come in black? Yes. Now stick your head out the window and see what colour your roof is. Unless you have fancy cedar shingles or a metal roof your answer is probably: black or grey which comes from black. So what happens when one puts black racking and black solar panels on a black roof? Nothing. The roof is still black, still flat, still uniform. Not only that but the singles underneath those solar panels will last longer than they would have had no solar panels been present.
For those of you who have fancy cedar shingles or a metal roof your roof will look a little different than it did before but the same still applies. Your roof will look neat, tidy and the existing roof will last longer.
After the first two weeks of excitement in the neighbourhood that someone got solar panels, your roof will just blend in with everyone else’s.
In Ontario today the government will essentially pay you to put solar panels on your roof. Let me repeat that. The government will pay you to produce energy for the province of Ontario on your roof.
It’s simple. Find a solar installer near you. Try Paid 4 Power Inc. They’re very nice. The company will put in an application for your property that you want to put solar panels on, be it a house, cottage or barn. Once the Ontario Power Authority approves your application you will be given a contract for 20 years that guarantees that the government of Ontario will pay you between $5000 and $6000 per year for the energy that your solar array produces. Once you have you’re approval the company will come and install your system. Your hydro company will come and install a new meter. You’ll now have two meters, one to measure your energy consumption (yes, you’ll still get a hydro bill) and one to measure how much energy your array generates.
Once the hydro guys get you connected sit back and enjoy the fact that while you’re sun bathing on your deck, you are also making money.
In six or seven years the solar array will have paid for itself with the remainder of the 20 year contract being the return on your investment.
Think of solar panels as an investment in our future. An investment in your personal financial future; in the Ontario as a leader in renewable energies; in Canada so that we can change the world, through our production of green energy and the reduction of our carbon footprint.
The sun is an amazing orb. But in Ontario we can use it to power our world.