What's really exciting is that I do this without any bills (well, I do have to replace my batteries every 15 years or so), without any resulting pollution or nuclear waste are being created and the bonus is that my power has failed just 3 times in 25 years (one fuse and 2 inverter problems), whereas my grid-connected neighbours who must pay bills to pay electric bills every month and yet have on average, 21 blackouts per year! (yes, we are in a bad area for that).
In the late 80s, I ended up designing and installing systems for a number of neighbours and friends as well, all of which are working just fine today. I am fiercely proud of my systems (I have a solar hot water system too), and would never have it any other way. After 25 years of living with these systems, it makes me realize just how well they operate, and that with our abundant hydro power in Ontario, it is quite possible that we could power all of Ontario with renewables. Cleaner air and water, no radioactive waste, and new job creation. What a better place that would be.
I therefore took up as my life's goal, having 100% of Ontario's electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2025.
It has already started out as a journey that is both exciting and rewarding. Please visit SolarBonds.ca to learn more about investing in the solar projects we have developed.
Greening your home pays off, Canwest Global News, Feb 21, 2009
Solar-power feed tariffs windfall for homeowners, Tyler Hamilton Toronto Star, March 23, 2009
SolarShare Report prepared for the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative in 2007
Sun, Wind and Water
My name is Mike Brigham, and here's a bit about my background.
I earn my living entirely outside the renewable energy industry, but I spend my waking hours working with several groups of smart, dedicated people working toward a much
better future and I am honoured to be amongst them:
In 1985, I purchased a very small Georgian Bay Island with a quaint old cottage. It was charming, but had no electricity or running water, so the first think I did was to inquire about the cost of getting a grid connection. Stunned by a rough estimate of $12,000 to $15,000 (remember, those were 1985 dollars) just to bring the cable to my island, a friend suggested that I try using a solar panel.
Well, that single panel worked so well at powering one light and one small water pump, that I decided to expand the system. I soon learned that as soon as you get the ability to generate more electricity, the more you think of things to power with it, so you add more to the solar system (luckily it is quite modular), and then you find more uses for it... and on and on the cycle goes. We ended up with a system today that powers a our water pump, microwave oven, coffee maker, dishwasher, lights throughout and I have no problem running my pressure washer and power tools whenever I want.
My wee cottage on Georgian Bay, from where my renewable energy passions sprang. Note my home-made tracker catching the evening sun's rays.
My home in Toronto is now solar powered as well, with a solar electric (PV) system and a solar hot water system.
With a 5.68 kW solar electric system, we actually generate more electricity than we use in a year!
To see what my system is producing
in essentially real time, along with
historical production figures, click here.