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Outside In is a five-part series that delves into the global issues affecting business in 2019.
MARYSTOWN, N.L. — With the already high cost of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador only anticipated to climb in coming years, renewable solar power could be set to rise in the province.
Howard Pack, owner and president of Renewable Energy Newfoundland and Labrador (RENL), hopes so.
The Glovertown-based photovoltaic (PV) solar sales and installation company will start doing grid tie-ins this spring.
Net metering is still fairly new to the province, first introduced in July 2017.
It allows N.L. Hydro and Newfoundland Power customers to produce their own power, offsetting their costs, possibly paying nothing at all if they create more than they use, with the extra power banked.
With the forecast of increased electricity costs as a result of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, Pack believes his business will grow significantly as people look for alternatives.
They need to know about their options first, however. There hasn’t been much in the way of publicity of net metering in the province to date.
“It’s going to take a lot of people like me starting to promote it because the Newfoundland government is not really promoting it. I’ve had those conversations with Hydro and with Newfoundland Power, and it’s up to us as installers to start promoting this,” he said.
The more people travel and see how popular solar power is, Pack believes the more it will start to catch on here.
Pack said he was glad to see Canada join the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) this month. The intergovernmental organization’s goal is to promote the growth of renewable energy. That bodes well for his business, he believes.
“So that’s a trend right there. That was really good to see,” he said.
Pack says he’s getting a fair bit of business from people – particularly those who are getting up in age – who own cabins with gasoline generators and are tired of lugging fuel around.
“We’re doing a lot of off-grid stuff as well,” he says.
Pack says he sees large commercial operations with high energy costs, such as farming and aquaculture, also looking to save money through the use of renewable solar energy.
“So, solar can definitely wipe out those energy costs now that we can feed back to the grid,” he says.
What does the future hold for energy in Atlantic Canadian?
Click the photos or headlines to here what those in the field have to say.