New Yukon rules let individuals sell to the grid

"Every panel on a roof will reduce diesel consumption," say Tim Fordyce, who's been feeding electricity into the grid from six solar panels in Whitehorse for about a year.
Tim Fordyce says he can see his power meter going backwards when the sun is shining on the solar panels. He already saves about $150 a year. (CBC)

Yukoners who are producing small amounts of power can now feed it to the grid in their communities — and get paid for it. 

The Yukon Government has issued rules for people who want to subsidize their power use through solar and other renewable forms of energy. It's part of the government's pledge to reduce the territory's dependence on fossil fuels.

People who produce more power than they use will be paid for the surplus.

Tim Fordyce has been feeding electricity into the grid from six solar panels on his home's rooftop in Whitehorse for about a year.

Tim Fordyce's home is outfitted with six solar panels. (CBC)
He says he can see his power meter going backwards when the sun is shining on the solar panels. He already saves about $150 a year. 

He says the new incentive could have a positive impact on the territory as a whole. 

"It's going to reduce the amount of diesel for example that Yukon electrical will be generating or using in Whitehorse," Fordyce says. "And then in all the communities that use diesel to generate power... every panel on a roof will reduce diesel consumption."

J-P Pinard is a long-time champion of renewable energy. (CBC)
J-P Pinard is a long time champion of wind and other renewable sources of electricity. He welcomes the news, but says many people can't afford the 10 to 20 thousand dollar upfront cost to install a solar system. "Those who already are on the border, who say, I would like to put a solar system in my house, but I don't have a lot of money so that might be a little bit difficult."

Yukon's energy minister Scott Kent says the program will be a work in progress. 

"If there's very little uptake or if the capital piece is seen as a barrier for people to get involved, we'll take a look at that and see if it can be addressed in the future." 

Kent says the government will begin work soon on another policy laying out out rules for independent producers who want to sell larger quantities of power to the utilities and hopes to implement it next year.


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