This June will mark seven years that North Vancouver resident Doug Horn has been producing all of his electrical needs from a solar energy system on his roof.
Vancouver Renewable Energy (VREC) installed the system in June 2006. The photovoltaic (PV) array is a grid-tied system without batteries. That means that Horn is still connected to the grid and can use BC Hydro’s electricity at night or on cloudy days when the the solar panels are not generating enough for all his electrical needs. During sunny days his system produces more power than he needs and the extra power is fed on to the grid. He gets a credit for this power from BC Hydro under their net-metering program.
On average over the year he produces as much solar energy as he consumes which means his home is “net-zero” for electricity. He still pays BC Hydro a small administration fee but he essentially pays nothing for his electricity consumption.
The solar energy system is only part of the solution that enabled Horn to become net-zero. Prior to installing the system he made changes to his household that reduced his electrical consumption by 75%. Strategies included new lighting and new appliances as well has behavioural changes.
The graph below compares solar energy production and consumption at this household to date.