Friday, 19 October 2012

The Right Fit For B.C

There is no question that solar energy in the form of photovoltaic (PV) panels have come of age. The industry has now been around for several decades with panels having been used in space, on rooftops, and on backpacks.  The real question for people who live in the province of British Columbia is when the provincial government and crown utility (BC Hydro) will take progressive paths towards sustainability like the province of Ontario.
The Ontario Feed In Tariff (FIT) program is modeled after the German program and has been a success from its inception.
 Remember that power outage on the East Coast a few years ago. Most news reports suggest that it was a result of the power grid being overtaxed during the hottest day of the year (image everyone turning on their AC all at once). After that Ontario began thinking about economical ways to address this demand issue. It also could address some aging and GHG intensive production sources (since the creation of FIT they’ve shut down one of their coal plants already). The great thing about PV and AC demand is that when the sun is at it’s hottest, PV is producing it’s peak electrical to catch some of the grids shortfalls.
 In British Columbia we actually have the opposite problem as demand for electricity peaks during the winter months (thanks to cheap electricity everyone uses electric heaters). As a result most of our wet coast won’t benefit as well as Ontario. There are however potential areas where PV could be implemented to great advantage such as the Okanagan. A direct current (DC) connection to major centres (just like our dams) could be accomplished and put BC on the map a place where solar energy becomes part of the utility mix.
 Without investment in solar technologies it’s likely that provinces like Ontario will have all the expertise manufacturing and jobs creation for this rapidly growing industry. Hey Victoria! Check out what’s going on in China and the rest of the world. PV’s explosive growth isn’t years off. It’s happening now. Get on board.