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2023 06 06 | Host: Keray Regan | John Barling - Solar Energy Advisor

It was exciting to learn about solar energy and "going solar" in our homes from one of the region's pioneers, John Barling.

John was a teacher for 42 years culminating in his role as the Head of Science at the International School in Monte Carlo. He is published and gives lectures on various topics around BC, but most recently with a concentration in the advances in solar energy, a passion of his dating back to the early 1970s with do-it-yourself projects.

John walked members through the basics of a home solar setup might look like, explaining the fundamental components of a system that would allow one to "go off the grid" or simply supplement the hydro-electric connections we get from BC Hydro.

He shared with us our propensity to benefit from solar over the course of the year (more in summer, less in winter) and how we actually have more average days of sunlight per year than our neighbors to the south, Kelowna and Penticton. An ironic fact John shared is that despite our having far more sunlight in Canada than Germany, we lag behind that countries proliferation of solar by a significant amount. "Canada is really lagging other parts of the world in the adoption of solar," John said.

He also walked us through the economics, and showed us how the average home can pay for the cost of solar equipment and setup in approximately 8 years, while increasing the value of their homes by up to 30% over that same 8-year span (3%-4% per year increases). The payback stems from a reduced use of hydro-generated power, and thus lower monthly electric bills.

John even indicated that when a home produced excess electricity relative to what that home uses in a day, BC Hydro will "buy" that electricity into the grid for other to use, paying for it with a credit the generating home can apply to future needs for hydro-electric. This is how John and his wife, despite living in what John categorized as a "large home," only have an average annual BC Hydro bill of $300.

Many of our members were enthralled by the discussion, and had many questions, all suggesting there is great interest in this sustainable, clean source of energy.

Thanks John, and thanks Keray.