Mercer And Holmes On Solar Panels

Just in time for the Ontario election, where Tory leader Tim Hudak is promising to kill the innovative Green Energy Act if elected, here’s Rick Mercer and Mike Holmes, two Canadian icons,in a  great clip from last week’s Mercer Report:


For more examples of the kind of business and energy advances that the Green Energy Act and its feed in tariffs have enabled, check out Stand Up For

To check in on the 33 solar panels on our roof, and see how much energy they are producing right now, go to our Enphase Energy website.

Going Solar in Ontario, Canada

Our family is one giant step closer to being part of Ontario’s innovative micro-FIT program, which is encouraging the growth of renewable energy production in the province by paying a premium to regular folks like us for generating electricity using renewable technologies and feeding it back into the grid. Our journey started last February when my husband Mark filled out the application to the program, acting on advice given to him by David at the R.E. Source Store in St. Thomas, Ontario. For more details on the process that has got us to where we are today, go to the “Ontario’s microFIT program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar” page.

Here are some pictures of the process:


Getting started



All the clips installed on upper roof



Installing the rails and micro-inverters




Hauling the panels up to the roof



Panel #1 of 33 installed!



The finished installation


And just for fun, a video of putting on the last solar panel:


Did I mention I’m not fond of heights? Oh well, what doesn’t kill a person makes them stronger…

We are still not quite to the point of feeding our electricity back into the grid. That requires hooking up the solar array to a separate meter, which will be done by a local electrician. And, of course, approval from the electrical inspector. So stay posted!

More links:

We’re Solarized

Ontario Power Authority microFIT program

R.E. Source Store

Will The Unelected Senate Of Canada Vote Against A Clean Energy Future?

It’s Monday and I don’t have a lot of time to squeeze out a blog post today. What spare time I have will be spent sending off final emails or making phone calls to senators in Ottawa who are starting debate on Bill C311, the Climate Accountability Act, tomorrow. If passed into law, the Climate Change Accountability Act will set science based emissions reductions, require the government to produce five year target plans, establish independent reviews, and punish polluters who break regulations. It will also position Canada as a global leader in the transition to a low carbon economy. It’s taken years to get here, and, if passed, will give Canada a wonderful opportunity to make up for our embarrassing performance on climate change up to now.  If the bill is voted down those senators who oppose it are disregarding the will of the elected Parliament, and doing the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce and Big Oil. To find out how to contact the Senators yourself, go to September 20th’s posting by Cheryl McNamara, “Climate Crunch: Canada’s Unelected Senators Under Pressure From the Chamber of Commerce to Vote Against Clean Energy Bill”.

Meanwhile, I’m not the only one in the family who is busy these days. My husband spent time this weekend to begin installation of  a 7 KiloWatt solar panel system that will feed into the grid as part of Ontario’s new microFIT  program. This is a process that started last February when Mark filled out the application, and gathered momentum when he received the approval in June. We’ve had the panels sitting in our garage since the end of July, waiting until he has the time and information to install them himself. That has been the most difficult parts of this experience, as there is no one in or close to our community that has the expertise to install them. Mark has been in regular contact with the company in Southern Ontario that he purchased the panels from, but that hasn’t always been all that helpful. Luckily before he became a family physician he worked in construction for several years, and, unlike some do-it-yourselfers, actually knows what he’s doing when it comes to sorting out difficult problems.

I promise to give more of the installation details as the project unfolds. In the meantime, here are some pictures from this weekend’s work. Unfortunately it was stalled when Mark found that the stainless steel screws and nuts that he needs to install the aluminium rails (the next step) weren’t sent with them, and he couldn’t buy replacements on a Saturday locally.

More links:

How To Contact Senators re: Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act

Climate Crunch: Canada’s Unelected Senators Under Pressure From Canadian Chamber of Commerce To Vote Against Clean Energy Future.