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Environment

Solar savvy residents advocate for renewable energy

Watch above: A solar energy tour took people to some of the homes and businesses in the Queen City that power themselves using renewable energy. Sarah Kraus reports.

REGINA – Saskatchewan has more than its fair share of sunny days and some residents are using those rays to power their homes.

Six years ago, the environmentally conscious Karza family equipped their home with solar panels and geothermal wells. Phil Karza says they’ve since paid for themselves.

He says there are numerous misconceptions about using renewable energy.

“We do without nothing. We have all the comforts of home,” Karza said. “We have an oven, we have a toaster, we have a dishwasher. We have everything everybody else has, except we don’t have natural gas.”

READ MORE: Fossil fuel phase out commitment draws mixed reaction in Saskatchewan

The energy the family collects from the sun also helps power their Nissan Leaf, a zero-emission electric car.

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“There is a misconception, that this car doesn’t have air conditioning, or heat. I’d like them to sit in it. We even have heated seats in that car,” Karza challenged.

On Saturday, he shared his experience with renewable energy with about a dozen residents on a solar tour.

“I’m very concerned, as I was back in 1980, about climate change,” said Ingrid Alesich. “I’m also thinking about putting solar panels on my own home.”

Solar contractor James Dennis, with Sound Solar Systems, says cost is one of the reasons people don’t buy in. However, he wants people to think of solar panels as an investment in the future, like buying a house instead of renting.

“It’s getting over the fact of paying for your power up front,” said Dennis. “Most people are spending from $15,000 and $30,000 to do anywhere from half to 100 per cent of their power.”

He estimates that money is recouped within 10 years.

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