Solar Power to the Rescue!

Solar Hot Water System
In case you skipped my post last week regarding how the new US President’s policies might impact Kingston, you may have missed a little gem that was hidden in the paragraph concerning the environment. Utilities Kingston is now offering customers the option of going solar. Well, not entirely. Essentially, they are offering solar hot water system rentals, which can help the average household save the equivalent of nine barrels of oil annually. With information concerning installation, how to qualify for the rebate, and what Utilities Kingston plans to do with all the energy savings, it’s solar power to the rescue!

“Heating up water for showers, dishwashing, and other activities accounts for approximately 15 percent of average household’s energy consumption. If the water heater in your house is more than 10 years old, it’s probably running at less than 50 percent efficiency. Upgrading to a new, more efficient model is one of the many ways you can save money while also reducing the amount of heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming” (via Treehugger). While upgrading your hot water heater is a step in the right direction, going the solar route is even more economical and environmental. Need additional incentive? Solar water users are paying off their investment and reaping the savings (in some cases over $100/month) on their utilities bill within 4 to 10 years.

Utilities Kingston explains that after a free in-home assessment, home owners must have an ecoEnergy audit to ensure that their house is right for system rental. Once approved, an allowance of $1,000 is available through the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, which covers the basic installation of a two-panel system. Additional installation costs for extra piping, or solar panels are assumed by the home owner. With the Canadian government’s new tax break for home renovations, I would suspect a large number of Kingstonians will be jumping at this opportunity – myself included.

In case the cost of renting a system is a bit too much for you to swallow; $49 to $67 a month, there are also some affordable DIY solar water heating options. For less than $5, and a little bit of handy work, you can build your own system by following the step-by-step directions on Instructables. Whether you decide to do it yourself, or embrace Utilities Kingston’s newest green scheme, it’s a win-win situation for both your pocket book and the environment.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

One thought on “Solar Power to the Rescue!

  • January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm
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    Treehugger’s facts represent folks who purchased their units, so you’re right in that the savings might not be there if you rented a unit from Utilities Kingston. That said, do you have the $10K+ to buy a solar water heater out right? I sure don’t, however I’m willing to rent one in order to save a few barrels of oil every year.

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