A Saanich councillor would like to see all new homes in Saanich be solar-ready, so that they can use solar panels not unlike those installed on the roof of Sidney’s public works building. The panels are expected to generate enough energy to power 3.9 average households (Black Press File).

Councillor wants all future homes in Saanich to be solar-ready

Coun. Colin Plant made the appeal during a recent council meeting

A Saanich councillor wants to see more solar-ready homes in the region.

“Every new house we build in Saanich should be solar-ready,” said Coun. Colin Plant. Saanich, he said, has had that expectation for the last four years, and future building code revisions could well include a solar-ready requirement.

RELATED: Developer wants to crown new Saanich rental with 68 solar panels

RELATED: Plans in place for Cordova Bay mixed-use residential and commercial development

(By way of background, the provincial government has told the Union of B.C. Municipalities that it was looking to “introduce regulations under the B.C. Building Code that would allow local governments to adopt solar-ready requirements for single family homes.”)

Plant made this appeal as council’s committee-of-the-whole scheduled a public hearing for a subdivision rezoning that would create three additional lots for a total of four lots in the 1500 block of Ash Road. An existing single-family heritage home would remain on one of the lots.

The subject of solar readiness came up after staff flagged the issue in a report. “The applicant has stated that he does not wish to commit to construct the new dwellings to be solar ready, as is standard with similar applications,” it reads.

Plant then raised the issue with the applicant, Taylor Love of Love Developments Inc.

Love said it might have been a communication oversight, adding that the contractor actually building the homes was planning to address the issue as part of the development permit process.

Plant for his part hoped that the developer would address the issue prior to the public hearing. “My understanding is that the [solar panel conduit] can be done very easily during construction for a few hundred dollars,” he said. While the solar-ready requirement raises costs, the proposed homes would be around for 50 to 60 years, said Plant. “So why wouldn’t we have that in there?”

With these comments, Plant has drawn attention to the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for electricity generation. According to BC Hydro, PV systems consist mainly out of solar panels, inverters, breakers and mounting equipment. Solar PVs generate power by converting sunlight to direct current electricity. Inverters are then used to convert the direct current electricity to alternating current electricity to be used in homes.

According to BC Hydro, a 1 kW solar PV system, south facing and tilted with no shading, will generate about 1,200 kWh per year or about 30,000 kWh over its 25-year lifetime. At a turnkey installation cost of about $3,000, it would take home owners over 25 years to recoup their investment at today’s average electricity rates.

Solar thermal systems can also be used to heat water, saving additional energy costs.

As of 2017, Saanich had 61 residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and 39 solar thermal systems, with solar PV systems now more prevalent for new installations than solar thermal systems. Several more developments — be they proposed or under construction — also promise to be solar-ready. All Saanich development applicants must also outline their solar readiness plans in anticipation of adding solar PV systems or solar thermal systems.

This said, it will realistically take some time before solar PV systems will help Saanich meet its climate change goals of cutting greenhouse gases 80 per cent by 2050, and use 100 per cent renewable energy by the same date. Saanich, according to the 2016 census, has 46,650 private dwellings, of which 22,145 are single-detached homes.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read