This is being driven by some real clear economic imperatives and this is happening all over the world,” said Stephen Hall, a leader of the Regina co-op.“The reality is it makes economic sense; profoundly it makes economic sense.”When the Saskatoon co-op began almost three years ago, with an Indie Gogo crowdfunding campaign launched in December 2014, it pitched a “financially viable solar power co-operative.”“It’s I guess a first for here, even though it’s been happening around the world and other provinces for quite a while,” said Jason Praski, a professional engineer, one of the SES Solar Co-op’s 168 members and a volunteer director of the board.—Praski’s interest in renewable energy began long before 2014.
That way, renters or condo-dwellers — people who can’t install solar panels on their homes — could have an opportunity, similar to the Saskatoon co-op’s model.
But the main goal of Regina’s co-op is to have solar panels installed on individual homes, using group-buying power to negotiate a lower price with a solar energy company.
The Crown Corporation is seeking a five-per-cent increase next year, with more to follow in the next decade as it upgrades its aging infrastructure. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory analyzing 22,000 home sales in eight states, homes with solar panels sold for about -per-watt more.
Hall noted another benefit to owning a solar system: It has added resale value to his home. In Hall’s case, that would work out to ,600 value added, or ,000 more than he paid for the system.
There’s no way to make money from generating extra power.
Policy doesn’t allow it.—Sask Power’s net metering program comes with a one-to-one credit.Its first project was installed on the roof of the Two Twenty building last June.The second, a partnership with the city Landfill Gas Generation Station, was unveiled in April.Even in the five years since, costs have come down to invest in the technology. In Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society started a solar power co-op in 2014.In Regina, about 100 people packed the Artful Dodger for the Regina Solar Co-op’s first meeting in late October.And, since 2012, it has been almost totally powered by wind and solar.