New Viessmann panels – overheating a thing of the past.

200-fm The new Viessmann 100 and 200-FM solar thermal collectors have incorporated a “ThermProtect temperature shut-off” feature into the selective surface coating on the copper fin. The special coating changes its molecular crystalline structure as the temperature increases, and causes it to increase the rate of heat emission. This prevents the collector fluid from forming steam and going into a critical shutdown stage, with lengthy periods of stagnation and its detrimental effects downstream. As soon as the collector temperature lowers a little bit, so the changes revert, allowing the collector to gradually begin to absorb heat once again. The benefits are impressive. Extending the life of the glycol (if present) in the heat transfer fluid, and higher efficiency in the panels, and extended life of the remainder of components from extreme high heat conditions. It’s a game changer.

Please visit our products page for brochure download to more fully explain this unique product.



Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Solar update for 2016

I see in the news that Tesla is marketing an integrated solar roof and electric carport combination along with a household battery backup bank. This looks tremendously fashionable and I wish them all the luck in the world getting it to market. Their success will be my success. So far I have not seen a large enough interest from the public for solar PV to warrant getting into this product in my business, however I think that this will change and I hope Tesla’s product will be the one to break it open.

Note: Viessmann have a totally new solar panel out on the market now which will revolutionize the solar hot water world. Watch for a renewed product group coming soon to this website.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar roof work – customers shoes

Do no harm.

That is a good first rule of thumb. The roof is in such and such condition, you want to leave it that way. Use a board to protect the gutter from your ladder weight. If you are working on an asphalt roof, which is the most common here in the Lower Mainland, then it is quite easy to install solar thermal, without overly jeopardizing the condition of the roof. Use a base (sealed roof penetration plate), or a flashing. Do not make exposed roof penetrations, ever. Be careful not to strip the lag bolt hole by over tightening. Try to keep your base plates onto a single flat surface – not overlapping adjacent shingle edges. When you turn your body, lift your feet so you are not scraping off valuable roof material coating or gouging the shingle wall.  If the roof is a steep pitch, and the panels are long, considering using a Unistrut top rail for the upper restraint. It will allow you to find and lag into the trusses using a flashed footing, and then give you ability to space your restraint straps to match the panel configuration.

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Solar works!

Have any of you heard people who say that they would not install solar because it doesn’t work in our climate? I get that one quite a lot and attribute it to peoples predisposition to believe we have too much rain here in BC. There is however a great project which I can point people to look it which is the Okotoks solar project in Alberta. Google it and see for yourselves what a great success was had there by that community.

Solar does work, and even here in sunny BC. Yes, I said sunny BC and it is true. Okotoks averages 3.58 KWh/square meter/day of horizontal solar radiation (RETscreen). Vancouver gets 3.34. Not a big difference eh? Well, anyways, the Okotoks project was a little different animal than the typical individual Solar Domestic Hot Water install but the systems do work well, and there is enough sun to make this worthwhile.

So the next time you hear someone say solar doesn’t work, you can politely reply in that you know of at least one install that is doing great. And know that you are right because the rest of the world is adopting solar on a massive scale and since Vancouver is not so different climate wise than a lot of the other places in the world that are going crazy for solar, then whats holding us back here? Preset notions of failure? Isn’t that silly?

And a shame, on us?

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Reality TV – solar installs

Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of watching Real Housewives of Buctouche, New Brunswick, we could instead watch something really interesting like “How to install solar hot water systems”. Actually I did give up much of my time on one install for a company called Sustainability TV to film a prestigious install on a Net Zero home in Burnaby. They came on site and kept interrupting our install to do take-overs, but promised that I would get a copy of everything including some stills for my effort. Later, when I got nothing from them, I wrote asking about this and never heard back from them. That’s reality. Companies that promise one thing and don;t deliver later.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people were interested in watching shows about how they could save the world? But I guess that is not entertaining enough, and not profitable enough to warrant the air time.

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Rising water – can solar help?

I was re-watching an old Vice TV show today, from Season 3 Episode 1, where they were discussing about climate change, retreating glaciers and rising sea levels. I recommend it to anyone that hasn’t taken the time to become informed about what is happening to our world. So, watch the show, tell me later you don’t believe climate change is something to worry about. Or better yet, believe, and act. I still don’t have a viable solar business in a city of 2 million (intelligent but uncaring) souls. Souls that won’t invest in offsetting some of their carbon footprint by using a renewable resource. I honestly thought I need only get into this business and as sure as God made little green apples, people would start to see the light and and be buying this product. Boy, was I wrong. Five years in this business and I am still watching TV shows where there are still deniers at the highest levels of influence. It’s so frustrating.

So, can putting up solar help to bring about a reduction in the rise of the waters around the world? Probably not to a degree where there won’t be a lot of displaced people around the world, we have waited too long to react for that outcome. However, to turn our back and not do anything at this point would certainly condemn any surviving portion of the human race from continuing to live on this planet.

So, is that what you want to do?

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Is climate change affecting migration patterns of Snowbirds?

In walking around the streets of my neighborhood I noticed something unusual this year. There were 15 travel trailers and mobile campers, all in their driveways under tarps. People did not travel south this year. I started asking myself, why? Obviously they had a lot invested in those rigs for this purpose, and gas was cheaper than it had been for a long time, why stay home?

One obvious reason would be the low Canadian dollar, but then that has been typically low, and now recently following back into that pattern. Surely they were used to that and coupled with the low gas prices, this should not have been an obstacle. Maybe it has to do with the current world events. Would they be boycotting our aggressive foreign policy neighbors?

Or perhaps they are doing their part to avoid climate change? I really do not get very much support for my solar products here in Maple Ridge, for various reasons I’ll not cover in this writing, so I doubt that is the driving influence, attractive as it might be for me to believe. We did not get snow (yet) this year in the City, so maybe they felt that climate change was going to produce another easy winter at home?

It’s a Mystery To Me!

Maybe someone can write to me and let me know if they have an answer.


Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Solar versus gas – which is cheaper?

IMG_7113Today I was out to visit a new client who happened to be in Abbotsford, where fuel is typically .10  per liter cheaper than where I live in Maple Ridge. So the work van is only down a 1/4 tank and it was hardly worthwhile to fill up, but I was so excited to see such a low price I could not resist.

So I’m pumping away (gas into the tank) and wondering ‘why is gas so cheap’ (and diesel too thank GOD) and it got me to thinking about all those environmental newsletters I get every day from all points around the world. Many of them are claiming that in some areas it is already cheaper to use solar than to purchase fossil fuels. For sure, that has not been the case in British Columbia but what if? I get excited and goosebumps just thinking about it. Wouldn’t that be something eh? People buying electric cars, charging them at home using solar PV panels – jeez, we’d be like all respectable in the eyes of the world again, especially those little tropical island states where the people are already being displaced by rising ocean levels.

So maybe this is not a phase. Maybe worldwide consumption is going down and the price of fuel is dropping accordingly. We do have the ability to make that happen locally too – we (the people) are not all subservient to corporations who wish us to be their money cows. We can change our habits, our lives, our world. All we have to do is choose to walk, take a bus, recycle, pay a bit more now in order to live a little longer later – it’s a good choice really, leave it in the ground. You and me. Simple.

As that little corporate logo says, “Just do it!”

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Maple Ridge solar report

IMG_6163Hello everyone (ha ha, little inside joke there),

It is a beautiful fall day today in the Maple Ridge. The wind has stopped blowing, the rain has turned off it’s tap for a bit and the sun is out in full. It is 2:00pm and the solar collectors are up to 41°C and the bottom of the solar storage tank is up to 29°C. Not bad for the nearly-shortest day of the year.

There is a good vibe around our house this Christmas season. My inbox is full of great news stemming from the Paris conference, my sales are up from last year and I am feeling confident for a good new year in 2016.

Good luck to us all in taking care of this glorious world for the generations to come.

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

New hope for Canadian environmental efforts

hopeIt’s been awhile since I posted. I was so dissapointed with the Harper government and their atrocious lack of regard for environmental issues that I was giving up hope for Canada, and perhaps even for my renewable energy business although that has been holding its own in certain areas of the market.

Then we had the federal election. Had other Canadians seen enough of this? Could change really happen? I was hopeful but not much, as the Green Party had no visibility for some reason, no support I worried. Then the Liberals won. I did not think their environmental platform was strong at the time but then I started hearing things. Canadians. Telling stories about our Liberal government re-instituting environmental programs which had been disassembled by the Harper Conservatives. About un-gagging our scientists, about going to Paris for the next Climate talks and asking to take along Elizabeth May from the Green Party. About re-upping the Canadian effort towards climate change. Wow, so many excited conversations – most of them toeing a line I can back.

I am beginning to feel positive again – something I have not felt for a decade now. We have some work to do, no time yet for celebrating, but what work for a proud country! Go Canada, take back your place at the table for turning the tide on saving our planet.

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment