Getting off the Grid in Nipigon Red Rock


NIPIGON – Gary Lange of the Nipigon – Red Rock area turned on the first micro-FIT solar energy system in Northwestern Ontario connected with Hydro-One today. The system installation is located at Gary’s residence, making him a local pioneer for green energy installations.

A true local entrepreneur, Gary is not only the owner operator of Bowman Island Charters, but as an alternative energy enthusiast, he has been selling off grid solar energy systems for 25 years. The Feed in Tariff program has been in the works for some time, and Gary has been anticipating the program launch, which finally took place in October of 2009. He is first in line to install a system, saying, “It was a no brainier because of the return on investment.” Gary is leading the way to greener energy in Northwestern Ontario.

The much celebrated FIT program is encouraging a more distributed and greener power system across Ontario. “We’re committed to connecting new sources of clean energy for our customers and meeting the province’s renewable goals,” said Kelly Kingsley, manager of distributed generation and customer care for Hydro One. “Connecting many small solar generation projects like Gary Lange’s will transform the way we power Ontario.”

More about Solar Energy and the Feed in Tariff program: For a private homeowner or business owner, when a micro-FIT system is installed, they are essentially a ‘micro-hydro producer’, selling electricity to Hydro One. Hydro One commits to pay the owner 80.2 cents per kilowatt as part of a 20 year contract. Payback on the cost of the system can take between 5-7 years, with the possibility of 8-14% return on the investment.  The approximate cost of a 10 kilowatt system locally is between $70,000–$100,000 dollars depending on placement, and requires around 800 square feet. Smaller systems are certainly possible and have differing returns. Good southern exposure with little shading on the roof makes for an ideal location.

For detailed information on the micro-FIT program, refer to the Ontario Power Authority website where individuals can register with the program.

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