The ability to generate a steady cash flow while sending solar electricity back to Ontario’s electrical grid was an irresistible opportunity for the Eileen Tallman Co-operative in Ottawa’s west end. The 11.73-kilowatt solar system was installed by Visio Energy of Kanata and financed by the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative (OREC) under a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority.
“We had actually hoped we could do this for ourselves and generate some income for the co-op, but as a non-profit, we simply didn’t have it in the budget,” said Eileen Tallman President Janice Lafontaine. OREC’s turnkey support was the missing piece that made the project a reality.
Eileen Tallman members are 100% behind the project, and Lafontaine said everything has been running smoothly. “It’s beautiful. They’re flat-mounted, so you don’t even see them unless you’re standing across the parking lot. They’re unobtrusive, they blend in nicely, and there’s no adverse impact on our co-op.”Lafontaine stressed that the revenue was a secondary concern when the co-op sought out a solar project. “They give us a little money toward our co-op, and that’s nice,” she said, “but the big motivation is the renewable energy aspect. Producing green energy is something Ontario, Canada, and the world really need. We still depend way too much on oil and other dirty energies. As populations increase, we’ll need clean energy sources, or we’re going to have a huge impact on the global environment.”
Lafontaine even has advice for other co-ops considering their own solar projects: “Go for it. Absolutely. If you can afford to put the panels on yourself, then you as a co-op generate the income and Ontario Hydro gives you a revenue stream, but if you can’t, partnering with an energy co-op like OREC is a win-win situation, and I wish more places would do that. We have an awful lot of rooftops in Ottawa.”