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  • Writer's pictureGraham Harris

Going, going...SOLAR!

This month I got to realize a long-held personal ambition – going solar! Having my own renewable energy system has been something I’ve wanted to do since I started my Masters degree, so it’s rather exciting to have finally made the step.


Virtuoso Energy installed an 8.04kW solar photovoltaic system, which is split between the roof of my home and the roof of my garage, and it was energized this week. The photo shows the part of the system that is on my garage, which faces (more or less) south.

Over the course of a year, my PV system should meet the electricity needs of my home – meaning emissions free lighting and power – AND those of my electric Chevy Spark, so most of my travel will be emissions free!


This is a massive step on my personal journey to net zero emissions. In earlier blog posts I’ve talked about the impact of adding additional roof insulation to my home (~15% reduction in my annual gas consumption) and of switching from a internal combustion engine (ICE) to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) for most of my driving (~30% reduction in GHG emissions at the time, since rising to around 40% as the AB grid has got greener). However, I’m anticipating my PV system will wipe out about 1/3rd of my household’s total carbon footprint. Next I have to figure out a low-carbon heating system (but that’s a subject for another time).


I’m really excited about this – and look forward to sharing data on the performance of the system in a blog post next summer!

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4 comentarios


Graham Harris
Graham Harris
24 sept 2020

Hi Jim, yes, that was exactly my thoughts on the uCHP - it actually made slightly better financial sense than the solar, but the carbon impact was pretty minimal and it seemed rather silly to be locking into a "new" fossil fuel tech.

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James Bererton
James Bererton
24 sept 2020

ASHP would likely be the best option. You may be able to swap out the baseboard radiators with a fan assisted radiator which will allow low supply temps. It's that or select a high temp ASHP which is also possible. Geothermal is not economic. And CHP??? Not the end game.

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Graham Harris
Graham Harris
24 sept 2020

Thanks Jim! I'll definitely take you up on that offer at some point! I've had a number of exploratory discussions over the past few months with installers and equipment companies about geothermal, air-source heat pumps and micro-CHP. So far, it's all been looking decidedly lukewarm (excuse the pun) given my high-temperature hydronic baseboard heating distribution system.

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James Bererton
James Bererton
23 sept 2020

That's fantastic Graham, I have just completed a study for my Mom's home, and the conversion of the heating systems from Nat gas to electric further enhanced the payback and carbon benefits. Happy to help out with the heating system solution when you are ready.

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