Ok, there are clearly two problems with Justin Harper’s approach to green energy, among so many others.
The declining cost of rooftop solar panels — down over 90 per cent since 2000 — has offered hope for increasing small-scale electricity generation.
Industry heavyweights such as General Electric are heralding a “wave of decentralization,” while the International Energy Agency claims “the sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear.”
And while the Trudeau government seems to be jumping on board, calling for Canada’s developers to build more “net zero” homes — buildings that produce as much energy as they use — the future of solar in Canada remains “highly speculative,” according to the National Energy Board.
One barrier that few in Canada consider is the issue of home ownership. Soaring housing prices are blocking many Canadians from buying a home, and renters have little reason to go solar.
- Because solar power has become so cheap in this last generation, it would be foolish to not start ramping up the post-carbon energy infrastructure with it. But the National Energy Board, a fossil fuel cheerleader [regardless of whether a Harper or a Trudeau is prime minister, apparently], says it’s highly speculative. The irony is punishing. Peak oil and a glut of LNG global production make those fuels far more speculative. Solar will simply become cheaper over time. Period.
- It’s a good point that owners of rental property have no financial incentive to convert to solar since renters pay their own electricity. But that’s just because we happen to have an electrical infrastructure that allows residents to pay for their electricity regardless of whether they’re renters or not. But many buildings have central heating and simply don’t charge for heat and hot water; they’re included in the rent. But we can’t let the fluke of utility infrastructure stop us from inspiring owners of rental property to convert their buildings to solar. Bribe them. Electrical utilities can bribe rental stock owners to install solar with subsidies and long-term, no-interest loans, for instance. Which essentially means that society, via electrical utilities, will be paying for renters’ conversion to green energy. Gasp! But I’m fine with that. Renters are usually more precarious than owners, so they’re far less capable of converting to green energy. And if society as a whole will subsidize that, the world as a whole will benefit. Sounds like a fine plan to me!
Let’s build the Canada we can be proud of!