AuthorKris Kasawski

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Solar Knowledge is Power

On Saturday April 6, 2019, join Park Power at the 2019 Solar Trade Show presented by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta. in Edmonton at NAIT.

Park Power is proud to be an Equinox Sponsor of this FREE Solar Trade Show and we will be 1 of 50 interactive booths exhibiting at the show. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from leading pros about renewable and energy efficient practices at the 14 workshops being held. As well there will be an Electric Vehicle Showcase, Food Trucks and Family Friendly Activities.

As it is provincial election campaign time, there will be an All Party Forum on Renewable Energy to kick off the event (10:30am-12pm). Hosted by Graham Thomson this should prove to be an enlightening event showcasing each party’s stance on renewable energy.

At Park Power we have always been “Solar Friendly” and at the 2019 Solar Trade Show we will be promoting our new Solar Club Loyalty Program. Come on down and talk to Kris about why switching to Park Power offers a tonnes of value for any grid tied Micro Gen consumer with solar pv on their roof.

Below is a schedule of the days events. See you there!

Trade Show in Edmonton to Shine a Light on Solar Power in Alberta

Passionate about solar energy, electricity, and the future sustainability of our province? Well there is an event coming up you may want to attend.

The Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) is hosting a free Solar Trade Show Saturday, April 6, 2019, at the NAIT CAT building, which will provide a great opportunity for those in attendance to network with solar enthusiasts.

The topic of solar has been pushed into the spotlight in Alberta recently and The Solar Trade Show will provide a number great resources for attendees looking to get involved in Alberta’s renewable energy future. There are a number of workshops planned, led by top industry professionals, to help educate consumers on a wide variety of topics including solar training opportunities, solar PV return on investment, financing solar projects, and much more.

In the summer of 2017, Energy Efficiency Alberta, a government agency dedicated to helping the province save energy, announced the Residential and Commercial Solar Program. The program offers rebates to homeowners, businesses and non-profits to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. With the program, homeowners can get up to 30% off solar panel installation, for a maximum rebate of $10,000, and businesses and non-profit organizations can get up to 25% off system costs, to a maximum rebate of $500,000. It is no surprise that solar power is top of mind for many in the province.

Since the program launched, more than 500 households and businesses have applied to participate in the Residential and Commercial Solar Program. When all approved installations are complete, this will represent 16 MW of new energy enough to power 2,700 homes for one year.

According to Energy Efficiency Alberta, by 2019 the program is expected to:

  1. Support the creation of jobs in Alberta’s solar sector.
  2. Cut solar installation costs by up to 30% for residences.
  3. Cut solar installation costs by up to 25% for businesses and non-profits.
  4. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province by about half a million tonnes (the equivalent of taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road).

Attendees to the Solar Trade Show can expect to see variety of exhibitors ranging from solar installers, to educational providers. Kris Kasawski, Founder of Park Power, a local Energy Marketer who offers competitive energy rates to Albertans, will also be exhibiting.

Before launching Park Power in 2013, Kasawski spent time working with his brother Kyle, a 15-year veteran of the solar industry in Alberta. Kasawski remains passionate about its future development in Alberta. Visitors who come to see the Park Power booth at the SESA Trade Show can expect to meet a friendly face who can answer any questions they may have about having a grid tied solar system as well as learn more about their choices as a consumer in the Alberta utilities market.

Kris Kasawski, Founder of Park Power is passionate about the future of solar power in Alberta.

“I am hoping to show consumers with solar PV systems that there are better choices for electricity providers available to them,” said Kasawski. “Not only are there companies out there that offer great Alberta based customer service and share their profits with awesome local charities, there are companies that provide premiums for solar PV micro-generation customers.”

Micro-generation is the production of electricity on a small scale, using renewable and alternative energy sources. Energy sources are typically solar and wind that are generated by individual home owners and small businesses, as well as municipal and community buildings to meet their electricity needs.

The micro-generation regulation, which was established in 2008, allows Albertans to meet their own electricity needs by generating electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources. In 2016, the regulation was amended to provide more flexibility for rules on how Albertans can generate electricity. One of the most notable changes was the size limit increase from 1 MW to 5 MW.

Under the regulation, micro-generators receive credits for the electricity they produce but do not consume. Micro-generators are paid for the electricity they export to the grid at the same rate they pay to import electricity from the grid. For example: If a customer is paying 6.30 cent/kWh for electricity imported from the grid, they will then be paid 6.30 cent/kWh for any electricity they export back to the grid.

In partnership with Utility Network and Partners Inc. (UTILITYnet), and Green Alberta Energy, Park Power and a number of other Energy Marketers in Alberta are offering the opportunity for Solar PV MicroGenerators to join our SOLAR CLUB Loyalty program.

“The Solar Club Loyalty program can help solar customers increase the earning potential of their solar system,” said Kasawski. “The fact that we offer a High Export Rate means that a customer with a solar system can earn more from their system in the high production months.”

When should Albertans start to think about investing in solar? Now is the time, according Kasawski.

“The future for solar in Alberta looks bright. We have a very good solar resource province wide and areas of South Eastern Alberta are some of the sunniest in Canada,” he said. “Having solar on your roof immediately reduces your electricity bills and as the price of solar continues to decline, and electricity prices climb from the 2017 record lows, the return on investment gets better. With the government incentives available, right now is a great time to consider solar as an investment for both residential and commercial applications.”

This is an exciting time for Albertans looking to get involved in the renewable energy sector and the upcoming SESA Solar Trade Show will be a great opportunity for Albertans to learn more about the options available to them.

If you already have solar on your home perhaps you should consider making Park Power your electricity provider to take advantage of our Solar Club Loyalty Program.

Learn More About Electricity in Alberta

New free software helps Albertans dive into renewable energy

There’s no escaping the topic. You read about it in the news, experts are talking about how renewable energy will change the way we power our lives, and now, there are even rebates from the government available.

Whether its by sunlight, wind, or geothermal heat, renewable energy has the ability to reduce a consumer’s carbon footprint as well as their utility bill.

With installation costs continuing to fall for certain renewable technologies, and electricity prices on the rise in Alberta, more and more consumers are starting to consider some type of renewable energy system for their home or business.

Even with these incentives, some barriers still exist. Most notably, understanding how to get started.

A new software start-up from the Sherwood Park area is looking to make renewable energy more approachable for Albertans.

Ripple Design Studio is a platform which both the general public and professional engineers can use to determine which alternative energy sources are right for their home or development project.

“Our goal is to create a new standard for energy modeling software which is free and easy to use, in order to support the growth of the alternative energy sector,” said Evan Smith, Solutions Architect at Ripple Design Studio. “Our software can quickly model anything from a few solar panels to offset a home’s electrical bill, to a fully functional independent microgrid capable of sustaining a community while generating usable energy surplus.”

In the past, existing energy modeling solutions were hard to use and even straightforward assessments could take days or weeks depending on what information was readily available. As a work around, many industry professionals had developed their own complicated spreadsheets to manage their projects.

The Ripple Design Studio team believed that an application that could provide basic feasibility studies with minimal data entry and no training required would save countless work hours on every project.

“We wanted Ripple Design Studio to be accessible to everyone and support multiple energy options right from the get go,” said Smith. “We’re also hoping it will be used as an educational tool, making alternative energy accessible to anyone who wants to know more about the various technologies currently available.”

How it works

It’s not just understanding what type of a building you have, or what you are currently paying for electricity, consumers considering an alternative energy installation need data on weather, the energy profile of their building, and more. Finding accurate information for a particular region can be an ordeal and often prevents people from pursuing alternative energy options and connecting with the resources they need.

Ripple Design Studio makes it significantly easier to get started. With just a location and a project in mind you can quickly determine what the equipment sizing and energy requirements are from its simple and easy to read reports.

“As we see it, one of the main hurdles surrounding the wide-scale implementation of alternative energy is that consumers typically need to take on researching their options and locating the right suppliers all by themselves,” said Smith. “Ripple Design Studio lets you create a project with as few details as possible, and once you generate results you can connect directly with vendors who specialize in exactly the type of equipment and services you need to complete your project.”

In just five easy steps, Ripple Design Studio can help any homeowner with their alternative energy project.

Step 1: Set Location

Your project’s location determines the environmental data used for feasibility estimates of your chosen alternative energy sources. Ripple Design Studio uses climate data from all over the world to project the lifetime performance of the energy system.

Step 2: Choose Building(s)

Ripple Design Studio has a library of Building Models and specifications derived from detailed ASHRAE standards. Choosing building type and area automatically calculates annual energy demand.

These heating, cooling, and electrical energy estimates are then used to determine your system requirements when switching to alternative energy.

Step 3: Add Rates

Financial analysis is as easy as knowing what you currently pay for electricity and natural gas. Simply input your rates and fees for a selected period and Ripple Design Studio will project annual and lifetime savings when switching to alternative energy.

Step 4: Select Components

Select alternative energy sources like solar panels, geothermal, and more then watch Ripple Design Studio simulate an efficient micro-grid system.

Electrical and thermal storage components utilize surplus energy generated throughout the year for even more benefit.

Ripple Design Studio gives you options to allocate energy, select equipment size, and determine if your project is on or off-grid to create a truly integrated or independent alternative energy system.

Step 5: Review your Report

A Report detailing your project is automatically generated as you create an alternative energy system, including expected performance and specifications for the equipment required.

You can review any of the Project pages and make further changes to fully customize your ideal micro-grid System.

Options for alternative energy are more than just solar

There is no doubt that when most people think about renewable energy for their homes, the first thing that comes to mind is solar power.

Although solar can be a great way to reduce your electricity costs and your carbon footprint, it might not work for everyone, and there are many other options available, explains Smith.

Most Albertans probably don’t realize that geothermal heating is an option in our climate. In fact, the average underground temperature in Alberta stays around 6-7⁰C all year.

Heat pumps and exchangers can extract this ambient energy and modern thermal storage technology allows your heating system to store any extra thermal energy you produce under the ground for later use.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators are also an appealing option. These are power generators which use a low emission fuel like natural gas or diesel to generate electricity and utilizes the thermal energy created from generation as the primary source of heat for the system.

“A well-maintained CHP can generate 1.5 times as much heat energy as electrical energy and can be scaled for use in home, community, or industrial projects,” said Smith.

The future of alternative energy modeling software

The general public can sign up now. It’s fee and easy to use.

As the platform continues to evolve, Smith says new features and functions will be rolled out. Electrical storage (batteries) and wind power are next on the agenda to be added to the basic version. Additionally, new charts and infographics are being added based on user feedback to streamline the interface for first time users while packing as much added functionality to the application as possible.

By the end of 2019 he says they hope to have an early release of the Engineering Edition ready for testing. This edition will allow for more in-depth simulation and modelling, allowing a user full control over their system design and preferences.

“Overall our focus is on user experience as we don’t want users getting lost in a complex interface or being overwhelmed with pages and pages of data input and obscure results,” said Smith. “We want our users to come away from Ripple feeling energized and ready to break ground on their project.”

Benefits for PV Solar Micro-generators

If you are thinking of adding PV Solar to your home or business, be sure to check out Park Power’s special solar rates and program. Most notably, our Light Up Alberta program, in partnership with Green Alberta Energy offers micro-generators a premium of 1 cent/kWh on electricity exported to the grid.

As we move into 2019, the Light Up Alberta program will be dramatically enhanced. The new program will help micro-generators become 100% green. Stay tuned.