Attention non-profit and co-op housing complexes! Looking to improve your heating system and become more sustainable?
With funding from Vancouver Renewable Energy, your co-op housing complex could install a solar hot water system without raising housing costs, which will avoid greenhouse gas emissions and save utility costs over the long term. VREC’s grants come from our Carbon Offset program. See carbon offsets.
Steps to your own Solar Hot Water system:
Have VREC do a quick inspection of your co-op
Staff from the Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op will come to your housing complex and do a general inspection to make sure that a solar hot water system is feasible for the building.
Book a presentation with board/members
Once it has been confirmed that the housing co-op has met the criteria needed for a solar hot water system, staff from VREC are available to give a presentation to the board and/or members about the funding program.
Have the board approve the expenditure
With a report from VREC and the confirmation of the amount for the grant, the board will have the ability to decide if they wish to approve this green project. At this stage, VREC can assist with the search for a low-interest loan from a credit union.
Hire installers and receive grant
Once a contract has been signed with VREC, we will hand over the grant money to the housing co-op and begin to set up the installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there government funding to pay for solar hot water systems?
Yes. Federal funding will pay for approximately 24% of the cost of a system and installation. VREC also provides funding to qualifying co-ops from carbon offset sales to subsidize loan payments during the first few years of paying for the system so they are never larger than the amount saved. This means that your unit will never pay more than it does now, and once the system is paid off, you will save every month on utility costs. The cost of a system for a multi-unit building can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. The assessment provides information on how much can be paid by grants.
We’re about to replace our roof or boiler. Is it a good time to install solar hot water?
Yes. Since the panels need to go on the roof, the footings for the racks to hold the panels can be installed during roofing and be more affordable. However, installation can happen at any time. Solar systems partner with your existing or new boiler and don’t need to be installed at the same time, but there may be cost savings or efficiencies that can be realized by installing them at the same time.
Are there co-op buildings that aren’t compatible with solar hot water?
Yes. If each unit has it’s own hot water tank, it’s generally not economical to install solar hot water. The building also needs a roof or other structure that receives sun throughout most of the day, and is either flat or facing south or south-west.
Are the panels too heavy for my roof?
Most likely not. Roofs are built to handle significant snow loads (even in Vancouver) and the weight of the panels is well within those limits. VREC will assess the state of the roof in our inspection.
What about ongoing maintenance?
Generally, the pumps that circulate the warmed water will need to be replaced every 10 years or so. The glycol solution will need to be replaced every 3 years. With no moving parts, the panels generally are expected to last 20 years or more.
To book an appointment for an assessment, call 778-869-8333