At Terratek we are passionate about renewable energy and its long term benefits and savings to you as a customer. We believe in the multitude of advantages that come with using the sun and earth energies to produce hot water, heat and electricity for your home or business. But when we're discussing Solar Hot Water, Solar Electric, Wind or GeoExchange systems the question is often posed: "What is the return on Investment?"
Our answer: Yes, renewable energy systems are a longer term investment but when we don't ask what the ROI is on our hydro bills, or marble countertops and nice cars, why do we insist on it with renewable energy?
The bottom line is that we need to look at a few factors to understand the real ROI, such as escalating energy cost, increased value and peace of mind. It would be great if gas was always going to be $1 a liter or electricity 0.08$/kWh. But it won’t. We have seen periodic price spikes in energy cost more than ten times the inflation rate and the price of natural gas in BC double between 2002-2007. In this day and age it's impossible to put a price on environment. The extra electricity we consume and fossil fuels we burn, while good alternatives are out there, is just digging a bigger hole for future generations. With this in mind, isn't the promise of reduced energy bills and cleaner living worth something?
The graph below illustrates the cost per kilowatt-hour that we are currently paying to BC Hydro / Fortis. Along the bottom is a timeline. While the cost of energy from our utilities will continue to rise, renewable energy systems will remain at a near fixed rate. The unit rate of a renewable energy system is calculated based on the capital cost divided by the estimated production in kilowatt-hours over its lifespan.
Wind and Solar PV Systems
Solar PV (Electric): The amortized capital cost of a Solar Electric system equates to 11+ cents per kilowatt hour over 30 year lifespan. It won’t be long until that cost is on par or is less than what we pay to the utility! This means that while you're essentially paying for your electricity upfront, instead of every month, you will never pay less for electricity in BC than you do today. And as electricity rates are already approved to increase 35% over the next three years when those rates increase, the payback on solar electric systems shrinks.
Wind: This may have a higher capital cost than PV, as well as higher maintenance costs, but if you have a great wind site it can be a lot more productive than PV. Not to mention, the visual marketing value of wind is tremendous!
GeoExchange and Solar Hot Water
Geo: These systems are one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool a building utilizing the unique properties of the earth and a ground source heat pump.
Solar Hot Water: Consider that the capital investment and reduced operating cost of a solar hot water system installation will often "payback" at resale!