December 7, 2017 1:19 pm
Updated: December 8, 2017 8:46 am

Vancouver Island man shows off his solar house and his electricity savings

A Vancouver Island man says it’s possible to power your home with solar energy and save big money. Neetu Garcha took a tour.

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“There’s a 148 panels in total on my property. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s replacing the electrical needs of 10 people,” said Stephen Gilbert, a homeowner in Metchosin, west of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

The power of going solar is front and center thanks to what Gilbert installed right in his back yard.

“What’s behind me and some panels that are on my home, actually generated enough electricity, to power the cottage and also the house,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert also uses the panels to power up two electric vehicles.

“Pretty cool that you can actually power your car from the sun.”

The panels cost Gilbert about $60,000. They’re set up to bring down his carbon footprint and his hydro bills.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver unveils solar power pilot project

“Two years ago, I had three very big hydro bills, $1,200, $1,400 [and] $1,600 in succession,” he said.

That’s when Gilbert started looking into this bright idea that’s already paying off.

Take a look at his last three bills.

Stephen Gilbert shows off his last three hydro bills after going solar. One of which includes nearly a $700 credit.

Neetu Garcha

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“Hydro essentially becomes your big battery. So right at the moment in my home there’s nobody there. The electricity that’s being generated from the solar panels behind us is going out onto the grid and it’s being used by my neighbours,” he said.

But recent research dims the light on going completely off the grid in urban areas.

At least on the west coast of B.C. as the cost of batteries would be sky high.

READ MORE: B.C. homeowners call for less red tape for solar panel installation

So those opting to get some panels to offset costs is generating a lot of business in the industry.

“Past four years, I guess I’ve done about 40 installations. It’s gone wild. Just because hydro expenses have been going up quite a bit,” said Ric Perron, Perron Electrical installation owner.

Gilbert says there’s no shortage of people interested in his set up.

“I’ve had approximately 100 residents from Metchosin and some people from Saanich that I’ve given tours to.”

Gilbert is now showing off his collection and how easy it is to go green, hoping to get many more people energized about the idea.

“If more people did this, we’d clean this place up.”

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