Most Okanagan residents are all too familiar with the sunshine tax—the pesky truth that living in a sun-drenched region means making a little less money, and spending a little more to live.
But a growing number of savvy sun lovers are beginning to look at the Okanagan sunshine not as an income drainer, but an income generator.
A swelling solar energy trend is sweeping the valley, as cutting-edge technologies and fast-dropping prices allow homeowners to capture and capitalize on sunlight like never before.
Daniel Babic, a specialist with one of Kelowna’s premiere solar system providers, says Kelowna and the Okanagan could be poised to become one of the solar capitals of Canada.
“Considering the Okanagan gets an average of 2,000 sunlight hours per year it makes sense to capitalize on this opportunity” the Solar Wholesaler Okanagan representative says.
According to Statistics Canada, Kelowna sees more sunny days than almost any other Canadian city, with more than 300 days of sunshine each year. Add to that some of the highest electricity prices in the province and solar power “is the perfect alternative.”
Large solar arrays have dotted the region for a few years—primarily the property of developers and business—but Babic says ordinary residents are starting to flock to solar as well.
He explains that cutting-edge solar energy products are finally being produced at a cost that makes them economically viable for the average homeowner.
Solar Wholesaler Okanagan, for example, has its own manufacturers that produce an exclusive line of solar products just for them.
This allows them to offer products like maintenance-free AGM batteries that can operate in temperatures as cold as -60℃, and still back it with a three-year, no-questions-asked warranty.
Similar to what happened with consumer electronics, Babic says “the demand for solar has ultimately driven down costs to a point where it’s economically viable for just about anyone.”
Babic points out that, for a long time, people have assumed installing solar in their home means dropping at least $20,000, but that is nowhere near the case.
In 2010, a good solar array would cost you about $7 a watt to install. These days, it’s more like $3 a watt.
Solar Wholesaler, for example, can now sell solar arrays at very affordable prices, with RV kits going for as little as $399, or eight-panel grid-tie kits selling for $4,799.
Babic says many people’s switch to solar has happened since those myths about ultra-high prices have faded.
He pointed out that many Okanagan residents are also turning to solar not necessarily just to go “off the grid.”
Some people, for example, will buy a relatively inexpensive grid-tie kit that pumps out just enough power to keep them out of Fortis’ pricey Tier 2 pricing. Many also attach a solar kit to their RVs, eliminating the need for noisy generators.
“Solar is the future,” Babic says, “and as the technology becomes better and more efficient places like the Okanagan are adopting it quicker than almost anywhere else in Canada.”
To learn more about the Okanagan’s solar future, visit Solar Wholesalers Okanagan online, or stop by in person, at 3190 Sexsmith Rd.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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