Sustainable Ottawa wants to be sure that every participant in the Solar H2Ottawa initiative is knowledgable about solar technology and makes an informed decision for themselves about SDHW.
If you have had any experiences, or come across the proverbial “Someone told me that …” that you wish to share with our members, please send them to the Sustainable Ottawa board. We will keep your comments anonymous if you wish and post important ones in this section of the website for other members to read. We are all in this together and also want to be sure that there is an open and honest forum available for others to access.
The following are testimonials provided by members of Sustainable Ottawa who have installed a solar domestic hot water system via the Solar H2Ottawa program. Send any questions, comments or suggestions to info at sustainableottawa.ca.
We had a 30 evacuated tube system installed by EcoGen Energy September 2008. The system is mounted on a frame next to the house so we were able to optimize the placement to maximize the energy collected during the winter (as summer is not a problem). We are delighted with the system’s performance. It’s hard to say what the exact saving in energy has been from solar as we insulated the basement at the same time but the combined savings, winter 2007 vs 2008, were 16% less propane use year over year. I was told I could expect 5% saving by insulating the basement (from an energy audit) so that means around 11% savings due to the SDHW system – BUT – we are using more hot water now as we prefer warm vs cold water clothes washing and we take more leisurely baths so the savings should be higher. What is great is the savings just keep on coming now – every day!!!!
- Bill L.
The question really isn’t why should you install solar – it is why haven’t you already? The first question I am always asked is “When will your solar system pay for itself?” I have been responding with my own questions. When will your new car pay for itself? When will your large screen HD TV pay for itself?I know I am unusual in my huge interest in all things solar. I’ve had this interest for decades. My domestic hot water system has paid for itself several times over in non-monetary ways. I have derived a lot of enjoyment from learning how it works and interacts with our weather and climate. I am constantly monitoring the energy gained and I am still watching the solar tank temperatures for new milestones. New record high temperature. Most showers taken without the natural gas heater starting, First time the system had sufficient excess heat it had to use the dissipator. Lowest gas usage per month.The list continues to grow.
But installing solar systems goes far beyond a matter of enjoyment. It is a responsible thing to do. Today as I rode my bicycle around the neighbourhood I was struck by the large number of massive home construction / renovation projects underway. Sadly not one had a solar component. These projects must range from $100,000 to more than $300,000. When will any of these project “pay themselves off”? The incremental cost of including a solar domestic hot water system to these projects would be trivial. Lost opportunties abound. Perhaps we need an awareness campaign for general contractors and architects.
- Ken W.
Our solar tubes were installed in November 2008, so we have not yet had a full year of operation that will allow us to determine reduced gas consumption. However, we have been very pleased with the process of installation of the tubes and the support we have received from Sustainable Ottawa as we went throough the various stages of installation such as help to identify a contractor, the ease of the installation process and the help we received to access the various grants/rebates etc. from various levels of government. Our system has proved to be worry-free. When we think to check, the informative readouts on our unit show that it is hard at work. (We have to read because the pump is so quiet that you do not hear it operating, even when next to it!).
- Virginia C.
We are a family of 3 and we added an Enerworks 2 panel system to our high efficiency gas heater in early June. In summer, our gas use includes water heating and indoor cooking. I compared our comsumption for the two months that we have had the system with the same period last year and our consumption dropped from 60 m3/month to approximately 13 m3/month. Given that some portion of the consumption was for cooking, usage dropped a fair amount. At current gas rates, our savings are approximately $16/month.
Factors to consider:
It is hard to extrapolate this figure over the year since winter water heating costs are higher (city water is colder) but sunlight is less effective. On the other hand, our system does have some reserve since it often shuts down having reached its maxium temperature. Presumably, in winter, we will be saving a smaller percentage but of a bigger pie.
Another factor is that it has not been a hot summer. I don’t think that this is significant since variable portion of our bill is down to $3-$4 so even a hotter summer would not bring many more savings.
A final factor is that current gas rates are, at present, abnormally low – about half that of last year (or even three years ago).
- Rob R.
The first part of my journey to help reduce my carbon footprint by installing a solar domestic hot water system took me to a seminar arranged earlier this year (2009) by EcoPerth, and presented by Chris Weissflog of Ecogen Energy. It was an enlightening, informative presentation communicated by a well-spoken, knowledgeable and helpful individual. By July, I had a new, efficiently-installed and working one-panel Enerworks system on my roof and in my basement/crawlspace. The whole process was informative and enjoyable, went very smoothly and the system works fine. In the meantime, I applied for and quickly received the PST rebate, and also just recently, the much-appreciated rebate from Sustainable Ottawa. The remaining federal and matching provincial rebates will have to wait until I have the follow-up audit done next summer.
It feels good to say that I am already noticing significant savings in my monthly power bills -July through September so far- although it’s premature to say how much until I compare bills over the next year or so. Yes it was expensive to install, but the rebates available right now, combined with the knowledge that I am starting to reduce my carbon footprint definitely helps me sleep better at night.
In the meantime, a big thank you in particular to EcoPerth and the Rideau Environmental Action League for their awareness initiatives; to Rock Radovan and Sustainable Ottawa for the informative assistance and committment to this solar initiative, and to Ecogen (my solar installer) for the installation and great follow-up service. Good job and great committment guys!
- Simon L.