Solar home heating urged: Alternative energy ideas discussed

It’s time to further explore using solar energy to heat our homes during cold Canadian winters, according to a local engineer.

“Generating heat from solar energy can address our single largest energy usage and thereby the single largest carbon dioxide emission as well. It’s amazing that Canadian politics is completely ignoring this fact,” Klaus Dohring said at an alternative energy teachin Saturday at the Caboto Club. “This is the biggest elephant in the room and presently there’s absolutely nothing to support solar-thermal,” a technology using solar energy for heating.

Dohring, president of Green Sun Rising, was one of five speakers at the seminar focusing on green energy, conservation strategies and energy projects like Ontario’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program, designed to phase out coal-fired electricity and create new green industries and jobs.

Sean Moore, CEO of Unconquered Sun – a manufacturer and installer of solar panels – called the FIT programs a “win-win situation.”

“They’re going to pay people for renewable energy and the only way you can get paid for that is if you use a domestically built solar panel. People stand to make a lot of money in their installations, reduce coal-fired generation and in the process we get Windsor families back to work,” Moore said.

Unconquered Sun employs 25 and is hoping to expand in July.

The MicroFIT Program is targeted to homeowners, farmers and small business owners producing less than 10 kilowatts. He said participants can earn up to $220,000 over a 20-year term by selling clean renewable energy produced by solar panels.

The FIT program is designed for larger projects over 10 kilowatts, at schools, churches, arenas and greenhouses.

Ontario Power Authority pays 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour for rooftop MicroFIT users, Moore said.

The startup cost for solar panel installation can range from $30,000 for smaller setups to $70,000 for those producing more than 10 kilowatts, he added.

“What we’re really trying to do is we’re trying to get people in the area to embrace this new technology and really the whole nature of the subsidy MicroFIT programs. All these different programs were to kick-start manufacturing in an area that’s been really decimated with loss of manufacturers – especially in Windsor.”

To put it in perspective, Moore used the room of 40 or so attendees as an example. He said if each one joined the MicroFIT program, $40 million of revenue would be generated, 57,000 tonnes of carbon could be taken out of the atmosphere and 30 Windsor families would be back to work.

“This industry holds so much potential for the people of Windsor and Essex County,” he said.

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