Solar co-operative could power up in Regina
Members could benefit through the sale of the electricity to SaskPower
It all started one sunny afternoon while Stephen Hall sat on his back porch, watching the sunshine bounce off the roof.
It was after that afternoon that he started researching solar panels, and it seemed like a no-brainer for him and his family.
The idea is to have a big solar installation somewhere.- Stephen Hall
Now, three years later, he's working to kickstart a solar power co-operative in Regina.
Some potential future members of a Regina solar co-op gathered at the Artful Dodger on Monday night to talk about what it would take to form such a group.
"The place was packed. There was a lot of interest," said Stephen Hall, lead developer for the possible Regina solar co-operative, adding he was surprised nearly 100 people gathered for the event.
Solar co-option No. 1
There are a couple of options for how the co-op would work.
In the first, "the idea is to have a big solar installation somewhere," Hall said, adding that members would receive energy through a common grid.
Similar to Saskatoon's co-operative, those involved in Regina would have a common share, which would include membership and program participation.
Members would benefit through the sale of electricity produced to companies like SaskPower.
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Solar co-option No. 2
Another option is for members to get their own independent solar panels on their homes, through group buying power.
Installation typically comes with a solar education package for the buyer. Mass purchasing as a group would eliminate the cost each individual would pay to receive the education, Hall said.
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The price of solar power
The Hall family invested a total of $23,000 for purchase and installation of solar panels nearly three years ago, after a rebate from SaskPower's Net Metering program.
After the SaskPower rate increase expected in March, he estimates his savings will increase from $13 to $22 per month.
As an added bonus, the panels have a 25-year guarantee, according to Hall.
The big problem is finding money to initially invest in the energy, he said.
The next Regina solar co-operative meeting will take place at the Artful Dodger on Nov. 20.
With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition