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New solar panel system eases energy woes for Iqaluit couple

PowerTech Solar Nunavut on Nov. 30 announced it had recently installed its first solar system in Iqaluit, at the home of Paul Crowley and Lynn Peplinski.

The company stated in the announcement that the couple will experience reduced energy bills and a surplus on sunny days.

Paul Crowley estimates it’ll be around 10 to 12 years until the solar system pays itself off.
photo courtesy of PowerTech Solar

The surplus will take the form of credit in future Qulliq Energy Corp. bills.

“This is something I wanted to do 20 years ago,” Crowley said, “and I had taken steps to research about doing it at that point, but the legislation in Iqaluit didn’t allow for that.”

Legislation was changed in 2018 to allow for net metering, allowing for excess power from solar panels to feed back into the public grid, removing the need for batteries on the property, saving on costs and space. Surplus power is transferred onto the power system, which is where reduced energy bills come into play.

The couple’s solar panel system is the first of its kind in Iqaluit, and it took a little while to get through the red tape.

While the system is early in its installation, with PowerTech expecting it to produce electricity for the next 25 plus years, it’s already making a noticeable difference during some of the darkest times of the year.

“I’m just one month in, we got connected during the first week of November,” said Crowley.

“I can see on sunny days, even during the darkest days of the year, I get about 25 percent of our house energy from the panels and on cloudy days it’s closer to around four or five percent.”

Overall, Crowley says it averages around 15 percent of their current energy usage.

“At this point we’re projecting 10 to 12 years before it pays for itself, then after that it’s all free energy. If I had done this 20 years ago, I would have already been into lots of free energy,”

He encourages homeowners and business owners, as well as the Government of Nunavut and the federal government, to also utilize solar power on their properties.

Currently there are no financial incentive programs to support the adoption of solar energy.

“Certainly, (financial incentives) would make it easier, but I would encourage people to not wait forever and if they want to do it, do it now.”