Category: Solar



153. Vulcan builds Canada’s first solar park

Vulcan, Alberta, the Star Trek Capital of Canada, has built the countries first aesthetically-minded solar park. Residents and visitors alike can now soak in rays alongside a visually pleasing solar resource.

A new blue roof in Saskatoon

149. Saskatchewan solar co-operative brings power to the people

On the roof of the Two Twenty building in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are 90 solar modules comprising a 27.5 kilowatt solar system, the very first project built by the newly-formed SES Solar Co-operative, an offshoot of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. This week, it’s power to the people on Green Energy Futures.

You may know Bob Chelmick as the calm, steady, professional former news anchor from CBC and CTV. But this city boy who built a career under the glare of the city lights, and spotlit newsrooms found his own authenticity in the "calming quiet of the country" where he built his storied solar-powered Cabin in the Woods the inspiration behind the landmark radio series The Road Home. “I wanted to integrate the things I love in my life most. Living here in a cabin, living out of the city, living in nature, making radio, storytelling, and painting pictures through that storytelling.” “The best pictures I make are on radio,” says the accomplished photographer. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

147. Bob Chelmick’s Solar-powered Cabin in the Woods

Bob Chelmick is a former CBC news anchor who built his storied solar-powered “Cabin in the Woods” and started the ground-breaking radio series entitled: The Road Home. We visit the home of solar-powered radio this week on Green Energy Futures.

A beautiful home in West Cape PEI with the West Cape Wind Farm in the background. Islanders get an average of 26 per cent of their electricity from wind power. Virtually all of the rest comes from an inter-tie undersea cable to the New Brunswick grid. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

145. Prince Edward Island rocks wind power

Prince Edward Island, Canada (PEI) is home of the highest proportion of wind power in North America. We talk to Energy Minister Paula Biggar about how this little province replaced expensive diesel power with enough wind power to provide 26 per cent of the electricity in PEI.

Calgary is wind powered

143. Renewable energy powers Canada’s oil capital

When people think Calgary, renewable energy doesn’t usually come to mind. But dig a little deeper and it seems the oil capital of Canada is more ready for a carbon tax than many jurisdiction, thanks to investments in renewable energy the city is in a great position to save money.

The Temperance Street Passive House will be the first passive house certified in Saskatchewan. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

139. The first certified passive house in Saskatchewan

We visit what will be the first certified passive house in Saskatchewan, Canada. This is somewhat ironic, because the first concept passive house ever was built in Saskatchewan in the 1970s by passive house pioneer Harold Orr. Meet Harold and see this amazing home!

Visiting the Kinney Earthship, in the dead of winter on the Canadian prairie landscape north of Lethbridge, Alberta does invite comparisons with the lunar landscape! So much so it inspired photographer Steve Nagy to create this selfie in the middle of the night on a fine winter day. And in fact the number one question the Kinney's get about their Earthship is how does this passive solar heated home work when it's -30 degrees celsius.

136. Earthship living in a cold Canadian winter

How does a passive solar heated Earthship fare in the long cold Canadian winter. This week we return to a familiar place, the Kinney Family Earthship, to see how it holds up in the middle of a cold Canadian prairie winter.

The Mosaic Centre in Edmonton, Alberta is a net-zero commercial building powered by a nearly 200 kilowatt solar system (some of which is flat mounted) and heated by a geoexchange system that runs on solar power.

135. Shining a light on solar energy myths

Aren’t we too far north for solar? I’ve heard solar doesn’t work in the cold. And aren’t solar modules only 15 per cent efficient? This week take an illuminating look at some pesky solar myths and help you sort myths from facts.

Jason Rioux's shipping container cabin. The cabin was built out of seven sea containers in a hub and spoke pattern near Bobcaygeon, Ontario. This incredibly innovative sea container cabin is powered by a small 1 kW solar system and is packed with energy efficiency innovation - probably part of the reason the video has more than 100k views on YouTube. Photo Courtesy of Jason Rioux

130. Green Energy Futures: Our favourite stories from 2015

2015 will go down as the year that marked the dawning of the age of the net-zero home. We took notice by preparing our four-part Chasing Net-Zero series. And we we just loved the story about Jason Rioux’s shipping container cabin, as did almost 200,000 viewers!  Here are some of our favourites from 2015.

Highlight of 2015 - Dan Hofer, financial boss, David Vonesch of Skyfire Energy and Jake Hofer electrician with Green Acres Farm near Bassano, Alberta pose in front of their 2 megawatt solar farm that consists of more than 7,600 solar modules that produce the electricity to run Green Acre's recycling and farming operations. Photo David Dodge GreenEnergyFutures.ca

129. Green Energy: The highlights of 2015

2015 was a banner year for clean, green energy! Vancouver pledged to go 100 per cent renewable energy, the Cowessess First Nation built a wind turbine and is testing energy storage, Edmonton passed an energy transition plan and Rachael Notley the new premier of Alberta announced a plan to phase out coal and greatly expand renewable energy.

The solar crew of Dave Simmonds, Warren Sarauer and Steve Milne from Evergreen and Gold Renewable Energy pose with Evansdale Community League's new 13.6 kilowatt solar system that will provide half of the community organizations electricity over the course of a year. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

126. Solar: A community investment

Evansdale Community League goes solar and builds a more resiliant community in Edmonton, Alberta.

Just one of the groups that has taken the 5-day solar training course at Grid Works Energy Group in Edmonton, Alberta. Owner Randall Benson has trained more than 700 electricians in solar in the last six years. Solar jobs now total 174,000 in the U.S. surpassing coal jobs. Many places in Canada are just beginning to install solar, but it has enormous potential to diversify the economy and provide clean, low emissions electricity. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

122. Solar training on the rise

Randal Benson has trained more than 700 electricians across Canada to install solar systems. This week we go to solar school and talk to Benson and his students.

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick at the mountain city's large sun tracking 1-megawatt solar farm a project designed to re-brand Kimberley as a modern, clean energy tourism town. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

121. SunMine: How solar is transforming an old mining town

Kimberley B.C. installed the largest solar tracking solar PV system in western Canada and it’s all part of the reinvention of a mining town as tourism City and developer of clean renewable energy.

DIY Solar Hot Water Heater Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

90. Solar air heating

We spend a lot of money and burn a lot of carbon keeping our homes and buildings warm. Solar air heating is a simple, effective and accessible technology that could help Canada reduce its heating bills.

This concentrated solar thermal plant will supply superheated fluid to the city’s natural gas fired power plant, enough to generate one megawatt of electricity. Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

88. Canada’s first concentrated solar thermal plant

Welcome to Canada’s first concentrated solar thermal energy plant in sunny Medicine Hat, Alberta. Discover how “The Gas City” is adding solar and wind to diversify it’s electricity supply in a city endowed with rich fossil fuel resources.

In spite of the volatility of solar stocks, Schnell predicts they will have a bull run that could last 15-20 years. Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

87. Solar stocks rising

This week learn why one stock analyst thinks the future is bright for the solar industry.

Landmark Solar Townhomes

81. Chasing Net Zero: Go big or go home

Landmark Homes is planning to have all of their homes be net-zero by 2015. Learn how net-zero is transitioning from small custom home builders to large scale companies.

Shafraaz and Serena Kaba’s near net-zero home was inspired by the German concept of the Passivhaus, a super energy efficient home that requires very little energy for heating or cooling. The home is air tight, very well insulated and it gets half its heating from passive solar energy streaming through the windows. Photo Darren Greenwood

80: Chasing Net Zero: Net-zero evolution

In 10 years net-zero homes have gone from government pilot project to mass production. Shafraaz Kaba’s near net-zero home is an excellent example of how we got there.

Spo'pi solar house

79. Chasing Net Zero: Net-zero beautiful

We look at making energy efficient, infill homes that are beautiful and also at how the location of your home can have a dramatic effect on your energy footprint.

Photo Garth Crump Chasing net-zero Part 1: Net-zero 101

78. Chasing Net Zero: Net-zero 101

The first episode of our four-part series Chasing Net-Zero.  We dive into the history of net-zero homes and figure out you can build one of these comfortable, beautiful homes that also doubles as a mini-powerplant.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Executive Flight Centre Development Edmonton International Aiport

70. Solar hot water 101

With cheap natural gas and cheap solar PV is solar hot water still worth it? We explore how this technology works and in what applications it makes the most sense.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Starland Country Community Solar Program, Alberta

68. Community solar: Farmers love the sun

We head to Starland County, Alberta where some very innovative farmers are working with Bullfrog Builds and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre to build solar that pays for itself in 10-13 years.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Passive Solar Heating Belgravia Net-zero Home in Edmonton, Alberta

63. The power of passive solar and thermal mass

Passive solar energy and its running buddy thermal mass give you the opportunity to get a significant portion of your home’s heat for free from the sun.

Energy Storage

57. Energy storage: Power-to-gas and better batteries

Renewable energy produces energy when the sun shines and the wind blows, but these entrepreneurs are developing better batteries and new and innovative ways of capturing and storing renewable energy.

Rae-Anne Wadey of Great Canadian Solar working on the Eastgate Environment Canada building in Edmonton. Photo by David Dodge, Green Energy Futures.

53. The cheap solar revolution is upon us

Soon solar will be so cheap it won’t make sense not to have it on your house, office building or spare building facing south. The price of solar has dropped one hundred times in the past 35 years, that’s not a typo. Learn what’s driving the low cost of solar and where and when you’ll start seeing it in the near term this week at Green Energy Futures.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Shot at EECOL Electric in Calgary, Alberta.

45. Big idea: The distributed generation revolution

Ever looked at the breakdown of your electricity bill with all of its transmission and distribution charges and wondered if there was a better way? There is and it’s called distributed generation. Learn about it this week at Green Energy Futures.

T'Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes

38. T’sou-ke First Nation goes all in on energy conservation and solar

The T’Souke First Nation on Vancouver Island developed and implemented a plan that slashed 75 per cent of their energy use and installed solar PV to provide clean power. It turns out it’s a lot easier to go net-zero when you drastically cut your energy use.

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver is striving to be a LEED Platinum building and to meet the Living Building Challenge certification, a standard met by only three other buildings in the world. Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

29. Canada’s greenest building

This four-story, 60,000 square feet structure is practically a living thing. It’s a $37-million laboratory that aims to achieve LEED Platinum status, but more than that, they’re also pursuing a Living Building Challenge certification. This certification is so hard to get, there are only three certified living buildings in the world.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

24. Our favourite stories of 2012

Join us as we dive into our archives and give you our favourite clips and behind the scenes moments from 2012. From nearly falling into the Bay of Fundy to angry anti-wind protesters we go coast to coast to coast to give you best.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures Nova Scotia

22. The greenest little campus in Canada

Université Sainte-Anne used three main ways to reduce its bills and its greenhouse gas emissions. Wind turbines to offset their electricity use and a biomass furnace and solar thermal systems to offset their use of expensive, trucked-in, carbon intensive heating oil. The best part was they didn’t have to put down a cent of their own money for the capital costs. Learn how and why they did in this week’s video.

Photo Duncan Kinney, Green Energy Futures

19. Sunny solar Alberta

Some provinces have all of the luck. While poor PEI has little more than potatoes and tourists Alberta gets not only the lions share of Canada’s coal, oil, gas and bitumen, it gets the best solar resource in all of Canada too. We learned this by talking to Alberta’ solar industry veterans, experts from Ontario and even the minister of environment for Alberta, Diana McQueen at CANSIA West.

 

Light Up Alberta

17. Light Up Alberta

If I told you you could almost double the amount of money you got from the solar energy you put on the grid would that make you more likely to get a rooftop solar system? Spark and several other small electricity retailers are betting that you will. Is this the final push that gets solar over the hump in Alberta?

Mike Brigham, the president of Solar Share, at its WaterView facility. Located on the roof of a bus manufacturing plant it has 438kw of thin-film solar.

13. Solar bonds: Ethical, local investing in solar energy

“We can take a commercial roof that was previously wasted space and turn it into a generation asset which is producing clean, safe, renewable energy,” says SolarShare president Mike Brigham.

Not only that but investors get to finance these projects through solar bonds and see a healthy financial return without creating a toxic legacy.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

10. The renewable energy revolution in Ontario

The German style feed-in tariff that Ontario implemented in 2009 has made Ontario a North American leader in renewable energy. Learn how they did and why other provinces need to follow the lead of Ontario.

Les Wold, a managing partner with Effect Homes, is part of the second wave of net-zero home builders making it simpler and more affordable.

04. Learn how net-zero home builders are building a better world

Les Wold is a part of this second wave of net-zero home builders. At 38-years-old he’s a managing partner with Effect Homes, an Edmonton based homebuilder that currently builds about 10 houses a year.

Learn about how these new kinds of homes are getting built and the simple design cues you can take even if you don’t put solar panels on your roof.

03. How Enmax is making simple, easy, low-cost, off-the-shelf solar a reality

Have you ever wanted to get solar panels on your house but were scared of the costs, time and effort it would take? Enmax, a Calgary based utility, has simplified the process for homeowners with their Generate Choice program. Simply sign up and if you qualify Enmax will handle the installation, permitting and maintenance.

Meet the people and families that have taken the solar energy plunge.

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures

02. NAIT’s new alternative energy program zeros in on solar, wind, geothermal and more

NAIT’s Alternative Energy Program is helping meet the increasing demand for professionals to design, build, install and maintain green energy systems. A two-year program, it teaches students the intricacies of solar, wind, geothermal and even fuel cell systems.

Meet the students and instructors who are helping to create the next generation of skilled green energy workers.

01. Author Chris Turner on taking the green energy leap

Author Chris Turner is an inspiration. As a writer he has focused on real world examples of people, places and programs where the future is already here. Things like self-sufficient islands in Denmark, Germany’s renewable energy metamorphosis and the surprising results of Spain’s commitment to high-speed rail.

We speak with Chris about the three leaps we need to take to replace non-renewable energy with renewable energy in the next 50 years.

Medicine Hat’s smart energy revolution (pilot episode)

The award winning Hat Smart program in Medicine Hat, Alberta provides incentives and rebates for renewable energy and energy efficiency and has really captured the imagination of residents of this Southern Alberta City of 61,000 people. In this week’s episode Alderman Ted Clugston explains how success depends on a sexy program, a solar powered dentist shows his stuff and a home builder explains how building an EnerGuide 89 geothermal heated home is helping him build better, greener homes.