Stephen Hall hasn’t always been optimistic about Regina’s future in renewable energy.
But when he began to reflect on his eldest daughter’s birthday four years ago, he knew he couldn’t wait any longer to make a change.
“I wondered what her life is going to be like when she was my age,” Hall said. “I was asking myself what is her life going to look like in 2059. I didn’t like the image that came to mind.”
Now, his 30 solar panels provide 8.1 megawatt hours annually.
That’s about 80 per cent of the energy needed to power his family’s home, studio and guest suite.
“I was actually saving money on a monthly basis even after payback, even after accounting for capital cost repayment for the panels. Right now we’re saving about $20 a month,” Hall said.
While a framework for Regina to commit to becoming a 100 per cent renewable city by 2050 is still a year away, Hall is among a group of green-minded residents who are encouraging others to start taking steps now.
The Wascana Solar Cooperative represents 85 people launching two major solar projects in the near future.
President Josh Campbell said improvements in price have driven interest significantly over the past year.
“It used to be about $1000 per panel, but now it’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of $700 or $800,” Campbell said.
Those who live in apartments, rent, or simply can’t put panels on their roof have bought shares of a 100 panel project that will be housed on a local Conexus building.
The others will band together to get panels on individual houses.
“Because we’re submitting an RFP together to bidders, we’re seeing a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in the cost just because we’re doing that together. There’s about 400 panels that will go up with our group buy,” Campbell said.
He expected to see the 500 panels installed in the coming months.
With an abundance of sunlight, experts say Saskatchewan has the best solar resource in all of Canada.
With council behind them, the pair see new possibilities and a changing mindset as the Queen City charts a greener path.