Enmax tests solar panels for mass-market rental
About 200 Enmax employees are testing renewable energy technologies at home that the city-owned utility hopes to eventually rent out to customers.
Tina Baker is used to loads and loads of laundry with a two-year-old at home, but she said she no longer has to worry about running out of hot water with a with solar-powered system installed in her house.
"There's a lot more hot water, and we noticed that it actually comes through faster," she said Wednesday.
Solar panels on her home's roof generate power to heat a second water tank; on sunny days, the panels cut down on the need for the gas water heater until it gets dark.
"The sun goes down. You're no longer producing your own electricity; you're just taking it back from the grid," explained Doug Sullivan, vice-president of distributed generation for Enmax Power.
Enmax employees are also testing other footprint-reducing technologies such as micro wind turbines and large solar panels that produce electricity.
The utility hopes to make the products available for customers to rent next year after the pilot project is over. Enmax would install and maintain the equipment.
The systems would cost more than conventional power supplies, but Marlo Raynolds, executive director of the Pembina Institute, believes Albertans won't mind the extra expense.
"They really do care about the environment, and we are willing to pay a little bit extra to help clean up the environment," he said.