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

Hope for Howe Sound

 IMG_2787sThis has nothing to do with solar thermal, solar pv or concentrated solar thermal power. But I wanted to write today about something else, that is inspiring to me and I hope to anyone reading this who gives a bit of thought to our human condition.

Yesterday I was out scuba diving in the Howe Sound and we saw a breaching humpback whale. How exciting that was for us all. The enthusiasm in the boat was thrilling, it was palpable. The whale was also cruising around slapping the water with its gigantic pectoral fins. Seriously exciting for all the boaters present on a sunny summer Sunday who respectfully gave this large animal leeway to enjoy itself.

We are not sure why these large animals are coming into the sound because it was been decimated of life over the past decades, yet lately we have also seen dolphins and sea lions. And salmon jumping out of the water. It seems like the sound is recovering as we are seeing bait balls and the herring fish returning.

Of course, I also saw two large fishing boats heading into the sound too, so maybe this is not all good news. Why can’t they just leave this alone, give the life time to come back? Are those two boats going for the only salmon in the sound, to clean it out for a few bucks worth of catch? Jeez, don’t they also get excited seeing the big whales jumping? Or maybe they just think about how much they would like to harpoon them for money?

Anyway, it was great to see that and it gives me hope that enough people can care to give the whales room to jump for joy (or to scratch an itch?) or jump for our joy. And maybe the Howe Sound can recover and this can become a regular phenomenon.


Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Eco fracking.

Yeah, that is my sarcasm. This is just the next logical step in the long list of psycho babble double talk coming our way as the gas industry tries to sell us a bill of goods about how safe the whole thing is to our environment.  An I bet you will see the federal Conservative government try to distance itself from its past devotion to that industry, at least during the campaign. If they get back in, this type of iterate will become the norm.

Just say no to brainwashing. Read, get informed, stop believing all that crap the richest people in the world put in front of you telling you is for you own good.

Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment

Everyone yell SOLAR!

solar yellingDo you know that if you look up the meaning of Oxymoron, you will be taken to a picture of the dude that does the Oxy Clean advertisements on TV. Yeah, he’s the moron yelling at me with an Aussie accent while I’m trying to watch TV. This is probably the greatest product ever invented, but I doubt I’ll ever buy it because of how they came at me with all barrels firing. Here I am, trying to stick up for the right of human beings to exist on this planet, and he’s yelling and showing me why we don’t deserve to. Yet, there they are, making money hand over fist, and they never seem to stop …”But wait, that’s not all, for additional postage and handling we’ll add” blah blah blah.

So, if you are going to buy into that then why not help me out too and go outside and start yelling “SOLAR” at the top of your lungs …use an Aussie accent if you can manage it.

Thanks from the planet and from your sponsor,

Sun Bright Solar.


Posted in Solar Observations | Leave a comment