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Getting solar power for your home is easier than you think

Getting solar power for your home is easier than you think

September 14, 2012

There’s nothing better than a local business story. The founders of Terratek are a pair from Courtenay, BC named Scott and Landon. In 2004, Terratek was born out of the need for solar installers in the Comox Valley. Since then, Terratek has completed hundreds of residential jobs, over 30 schools and commercial projects like greening up Richmond’s Mini Dealership. They now serve the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

If you think about it, solar power is very simple. In the case of solar PV (electric), the energy of the sun is captured by cleverly placed solar panels, and that energy is converted into usable household electricity. The trick is getting the wiring and conversion set up so that you get as much power out of the whole system.

The Lower Mainland isn’t sun bathed Mexico, that’s for sure. But solar is still very effective here. According to Emily Kendy at Terratek, “Germany is the leading country for solar in the world and actually gets less sunshine than we do. They were powering 50% of their country with solar as of July.”

In the case of Terratek, most household solar units power domestic hot water. Your hot water tank is one of the biggest energy suckers in your home, using on average 35% of your home’s energy consumption. With a solar hot water system, you can offset the cost of hot water as much as 50-60% overall, including 40% in winter and 100% in the summer.   

“People think that you need direct sunlight, but ambient light is fine,” said Kendy, “Over the course of the year we get more than enough sunlight.”

Most of Terratek’s jobs are retrofits, using your current roof situation to make it work. As long as you have south facing roof, you can get in the game. Of course, there is a cost to install, but Kendy explains the ROI in a unique way. “We try to look at ROI in a different way, for us, we want to look at the real ROI including escalating energy prices, capital investment at re-sale, and piece of mind.”

There is something to be said about knowing that your home is more sustainable, and of course, a solar system adds to your property value.

In addition to a solar water heater, you can also add other green goodies to your home. For example, Terratek also offers wind options, geothermal and electric vehicle power stations. If you own an electric car, having one of these power stations in your home is a must.

Terratek will do a free in-home consultation. All you have to do is fill out this web form and you’re on your way