Archive for the ‘Environment’ category

Solar Powered In Toronto

June 7th, 2010

On March 24, 2010, at 10:38am, our solar power array turned on for the first time.

Yup, we have a solar power system on the roof of our house, and it’s been operating continuously ever since (well, not at night, but it could if we had batteries). See photos here.

I had long been planning a website to tell all about our system, and about the Ontario microFIT program that makes it possible, and about solar power in general. Well, after many nights and weekends of toil, the site finally came together, check it out!

I am proud to say that it’s currently the number one hit on Google when you search for “how much can you make microfit“. :-)

Solar electric power is truly amazing. No moving parts, no turbines or complicated equipment. Just silicon panels that instantly produce electricity when exposed to light. It’s like magic….the stuff of science fiction (see Clarke’s third law). It is the stuff that makes space flight possible…every satellite orbiting over head runs off solar panels.

And we’re on the cusp of a revolution here on earth too. The developing world is already leapfrogging us in the west, by installing an increasing number of solar power systems where there is no distribution grid. The sun delivers the energy everywhere for free. Just put up the panels to collect it.

Unfortunately, in the west we’ve got three problems:

  1. We use too much power
  2. We have built huge, centralized power stations, connected to a massive distribution system, to feed this huge demand
  3. We have subsidized the cost of these systems to the point where the renewable energy systems we need, which are quite feasible using today’s technology, supposedly can’t compete in the marketplace

In the middle of the 20th century, North American power companies basically saw a business opportunity, to build huge central power stations, burning coal, and later splitting the atom, at enormous cost. But they could make money at it, as long as they got enough people to buy enough electricity for long enough, that the costs could be amortized over a really huge span of time. In Ontario’s case, we taxpayers should be done paying off the debt of the old Ontario Hydro corporation by about 2018!

Of course, solar and other renewables weren’t available back then the way they are today. But now they are…so how are we going to get ourselves off a centralized, 20th century, unsustainable, energy system, and into a 21st century, decentralized, open and sustainable energy system? The Ontario microFIT program is part of the answer, along with other FIT programs all over the world.

Read more about it all on our solar power website.

Better yet, get a microFIT system yourself. This is something where you can actually get paid to be part of the solution and not the problem!