Google supports green energy initiatives
Google is the most successful search engine in the brief history of the Internet. So iconic has Google become that it can be used as a verb (I Googled myself), a national pastime (I Googled myself) and a way for people to connect (I Googled you.) ‘Google’ has even made it into the illustrious Oxford English Dictionary where it has achieved official recognition as a verb. The overwhelming success of Google must surely come as a surprise to its creators who could never have foreseen the behemoth that Google would grow up to be. Affectionately known as the ‘Google guys’, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are going to great lengths to use their new-found super powers for good.
They started by replacing the company’s official motto which was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” with the more memorable “Don’t be evil”. “Don’t be evil” is a motto that they seem to be living up to as the core members of the group realise their promises of using their powers for good. I know what you are thinking, big corporations only window dress their charitable contributions, while secretly harbouring desires for world domination. Google seems to be the genuine exception. Not convinced? Go ahead… Google it!
Mojave Desert Solar Plant
The Mojave Desert will be the site of Google’s latest contribution to renewable energy development; the Ivanpah solar farm. This $168 million solar farm will have a capacity of 392 MW once completed in 2013. The production of CO₂-free energy will be the equivalent of taking 90 000 cars off the road during the solar farm’s expected 25 year lifespan. 173, 000 Heliostat mirrors will be set up in the desert and will focus the sun’s energy on 450 feet tall ‘power towers’ which convert water to steam.
Moving closer to home, Google announced recently a $280 million partnership with solar installers Solar City. The money will go to cover the capital outlay of solar systems. Residents across the States can rent the systems from Solar City, thereby alleviating the expense of setting up their own solar arrays. Solar City is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the solar system during the lease period. Residents can lease the solar systems and still save on their utility bills, without the necessity for a large capital outlay. This initiative brings Google’s investment in solar energy to date to an impressive $680 million – not so evil now, are they?
Winds of Change
A 350-mile stretch of the United States’ Atlantic coastline is about to be transformed into the first offshore wind farm to supply almost 2 million American homes with clean energy. Situated 10 to 15 miles off the coast, the development is an initiative of the Atlantic Wind Corporation. The project’s total cost of $5 billion got off to a good start with Google investing 37.5% so that the company can begin installation.
This not-for-profit was created with over a billion dollars of Google shares. The organization has to date funded the development of electric cars, supported research to develop renewable sources of energy that are cheaper than coal and donated $100 million to schemes that alleviate poverty and create awareness for climate control. They support a number of third world initiatives that hope to develop education and essential services and stimulate growth for small and medium businesses.
The Ontario government has made several ground breaking advances in promoting the development of renewable energy through subsidies with the FIT and microFIT initiatives. So popular has the program been that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has been overwhelmed with applications from home and business owners. This blossoming development has seen the renewable energy capability of Ontario increase to 1,300MW — enough to power more than 300,000 homes, making it one of the 10 solar hotspots in North America. The OPA has further guaranteed development of the Ontario economy by insisting that 60% of the solar power systems installed in the province be made locally.
The insistence on local content has made the province a viable and attractive prospect for solar companies. Companies like Canadian Solar, Silfab SpA and others have opened plants in Ontario in recent months, creating much needed ‘green collar’ jobs. The increase in contracts has seen solar installers popping up like mushrooms. Solar installers provide thousands of jobs in the solar power industry.
Another incentive for growth is the sharp decline in prices for solar power systems; PV solar systems cost half of what they did in 1998. A recent study by Duke University showed that the ballooning costs of nuclear plants last year resulted in the crossover eagerly anticipated by renewable energy companies for decades; solar is finally cheaper than nuclear! But trouble may be on the horizon. The McGuinty government has shown a strong preference for nuclear and gas electricity production, refurbishing two nuclear reactors at the Bruce power plant with plans to build two more. The opposition has shown strong resistance to the FIT and microFIT initiatives, threatening to scrap the programmes altogether. The OPA has also hinted at future reductions in FIT and microFIT subsidies which would slow solar power installations dramatically and lead to the closure of solar companies and a loss of jobs in the province.
The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) represents various interests in the solar industry. Said ex-chair David Eisenbud; “By 2025, solar energy expects to be widely deployed throughout Canada, having already achieved market competitiveness and no longer needing government incentives. By 2025 solar will be supporting more than 35,000 jobs and displacing 15 to 31 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, while providing a safer, cleaner environment for generations to come.” All this will be jeopardised should FIT and microFIT subsidies be halted or altered.
When the German government threatened to reduce solar funding, members of the solar industry and local communities campaigned to have their subsidies extended. So great was the support that the German government revised its plans. CanSIA is hoping to drum up similar support. To this end, they are launching the Stand Up for Solar campaign. A website, standupforsolar.ca, allows you to create awareness through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and email or tweet your MPP to voice your support for the solar industry. If you want the government to vote for solar in the October elections, you will have to join those in the solar industry to make a stand.
Go to the website, donate funds or post the site on your social media outlets to spread the word.
A Frank Look at the Ontario microFIT Program
MicroFIT is a program developed by the Ontario government as an incentive to home and business owners to install solar power systems. The program offers the property owner a 20 year contract to sell energy produced by their microFIT system to the grid. Solar power systems don’t come cheap and must be installed by a qualified solar installer. Is MicroFIT worth it? In a word, YES! Allow me to expand….
What’s The Deal?
The Ontario government has modelled its microFIT system on those of countries like Germany. Germany introduced their microFIT system in the early nineties and it has enjoyed unparalleled success. The program proved to be so rewarding that over two million German households, businesses, churches, schools and other organizations have invested in solar power systems. The Ontario microFIT program encourages property owners to install small solar powered systems of 10kW or less. The property remains connected to the grid, and the solar power system produces energy that is sold to the local energy provider. Ontario hydro rates fluctuate between 5.1 cents/kWh in off-peak hours to 9.9 cents/kWh during peak hours. The property owner will continue to pay these rates, while the local energy supplier, under the microFIT program, pays a jaw-dropping 80.2 cents/kWh.
Show Me the SunMoney
So what does that mean in terms of hard cold cash? With a 15% return on your investment, homeowners can look at making back their investment in 4 years.
Years to payback: 4 Years
1 Month: $1000
1 Year: $11 998
10 Years: $131 977
15 Years: $191 967
20 Years: $251 956
25 Years: $311 946
30 Years: $371 936
35 Years: $431 925
Environmental Benefits over 25 years
CO² Offset: 509 762 Lbs
SO² Offset: 2 019.6 Lbs
N₂O Offset: 785.4 Lbs
Which is equivalent to:
Planting: 5 Acres of Trees
Not Driving: 637 202 Miles
Sun Money Is Real
Solarline installed a 5kW microFIT solar system on the Fergusson’s home in October 2011. Since that time they have produced over 9.9 MWh of electricity which they have sold back to the grid for almost $8,000.00. Every month for 20 years, they will receive a cheque from their hydro company. They’ve had no maintenance to worry about, their system just keeps making money for them every month. As Mr. Fergusson says “It’s like having a tenant in our home that takes up no space, never complains, and always pays their rent on time.”
It’s time to get your share of the Sun Money. Solarline has helped dozens of customers earn money from installing solar panels on their properties. You can help Ontario build a green energy strategy, and earn money while doing it. Get a free microFIT solar system quote now.
Business owners have it even better
Environmentally responsible businesses are able to advertise their microFIT solar panel system to shoppers who prefer to frequent establishments that support their environmental principles. Not only will it draw customers, but the system will make SunMoney for the business after 4-5 years. Businesses with flat roofs have an added advantage as the solar panels can be ballasted, which means that the roof is not damaged or altered. The microFIT scheme is further augmented by Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance which enables the business owner to write off their initial setup costs within five years.
- Yr.1 (25%) $16, 935.70
Yr. 2 (50%) $25, 403.55
Yr. 3 (50%) $12, 701.78
Yr. 4 (50%) $6, 350.89
Yr. 5 (50%) $3, 175.44
End of yr. 5 $64, 567.36
For more information, visit: Directory of Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs in Canada
Doing the Right Thing
Solar panel production produces almost no emissions, the panels are 90% recyclable and have warranties of 20-30 years. They are made of sturdy materials which can withstand the elements and require very little maintenance once installed. They add value to your property and contribute significantly to LEED points. Installing a microFIT solar power system also helps to create ‘green collar’ jobs; an estimated 50 000 jobs will be created by the microFIT program’s insistence on 60% local content and 100% local labor. Jim Creeggan is one of Ontario’s most famous microFIT owners. Said the ‘Barenaked Ladies’ bassist: “Now that the MicroFIT program is up and running, it makes solar a realistic option for more households.”
The microFIT program has proven to be so successful, approx. 3,700 connections thus far, that there are delays in processing. Allow at least three months to receive your conditional offer from the government. Inspections need to be conducted by the Electrical Safety Authority before your solar power system is connected to the grid – make sure that these are included in your quote price.
If you want to make Santa’s nice list next year, an Ontario microFIT solar power system may be just the ticket. Not only is solar a good investment, it can make you money, increase the value of your home and reduce your carbon footprint. Sound too good to be true? Read on to see if solar is right for you.
Do you want to increase the value of your home?
A solar panel installation will significantly increase the value of your home. The attraction of generating income from the panels will provide buyers with an added incentive – particularly if you have paid off the initial installation fees.
Do you want your home to make money for you?
The Ontario government is making an incredible offer to promote solar panel installations by home or business owners. The homeowner currently pays a maximum of 9 cents per kWh for energy consumption during peak periods. With a solar panel installation, the homeowner sells renewable power to the grid at a whopping 80 cents per kWh. If you haven’t started dialing your local solar installation company yet, there’s more! The homeowner will not have to pay tax on income generated from solar systems until the initial installation costs have been recovered. Still not convinced? The government will award you a 20 year contract on photovoltaic solar panels that are guaranteed for 20 – 30 years. That’s right – I know it’s hard to believe, but this is a limited time offer, so get it while you can.
Do you want to create jobs for people in Ontario?
From 2011, 60% of the components (including labour) of PV installations will need to be made locally. This has the potential to produce more than 70 000 years of employment in the province by 2015 according to a study by Clear Sky Advisory – 12 to 15% more job years than those produced by non-renewable energy endeavors.
Do you want to become an energy producer rather than a consumer?
This is an awfully nice thing to do for Mother Nature. You will be contributing to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. Ontario gets a lot of sun, and it’s FREE. It also provides energy security and you will be well prepared for blackouts, solar flares and the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Do you want to save the environment?
Solar energy is a free, renewable resource with zero emissions. Almost no pollution is produced when solar installations are manufactured and 90% of the material used to manufacture them is reusable or recyclable. Using solar significantly reduces carbon emissions and contributes to offsetting carbon emissions elsewhere. So, if you’re planning to fly to Cuba this year, you can offset your emissions by installing solar solutions.
Ontario microFIT can make you money, and deliver all of the above benefits but—
it’s a limited time offer
A microFIT approved solar power system will cost you as little as $20,000, and as much as $67,000 for a full 10kWh system. Your system will produce approx. $11,115.72* in annual income and a whopping $222,314.40* over the life of the contract, backed by the Ontario Government. The system will pay for itself in less than 6 years and will net you 15% ROI annually. This is a limited time offer. The Ontario Government will likely lower the rate in 2012, so now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to put SUN MONEY in your pocket. Call your solar installer and get a FREE quote, What do you have to lose?
*Based on a 10kWh system at $7.00 per W installation cost