Soaring energy prices have prompted growing interest in solar power in Ontario, thanks to a provincial government incentive program for homeowners who generate electricity.
Oil prices have climbed by about 33 per cent in just two months, with crude closing above $112 US a barrel, as traders worry about turmoil in the Mideast.
And electricity prices are on the rise, too. Consumers in Ontario will pay more starting next month. Nova Scotia has just announced a nine per cent increase in power rates.
That's prompted interest in the Ontario government's feed-in tariff program, which allows producers of solar power to sell their electricity to a utility. It pays them eight times the usual price for electricity.
Two homeowners taking advantage of the program are Annabel and Peter Reinis, who have installed solar panels on their home in the west end of Toronto at a cost of more than $20,000.
"Ontario Power Generation will pay us 80 cents a kilowatt for the power we put into their system and we still pay the regular bill that we always pay, Peter Reinis told Mike Hornbrook of CBC News. "So it's like a little business on our roof."
That business will pay them from $1,500 to $1,800 a year, and they don't have to do anything but cash the cheques that arrive from the power company.
Last year, Ontario added 200 megawatts of solar power. That's the second highest amount in North America after California.