Councillor goes solar

Rooftop system should reduce water heating bill by 60 percent

Joe Mihevc has put his money where his roof is.

The St. Paul’s municipal rep is reducing his home’s carbon footprint by installing solar thermal panels on the roof of his two-storey Humewood Drive home.

“My going solar is helping pave the way for all homeowners across the city to follow suit,” he said during a demonstration of the panels outside his home.

The rooftop solar thermal system, which cost Mihevc $2,500, works by sending water from the home’s hot water tank to the panelled rooftop system where the sun heats the water. This leaves the home’s hot water tank with very little work to do and less fossil fuels to burn.

Solar hot water systems can reportedly save an average household of four people up to 60 percent on water heating bills, reducing the volume of greenhouse gas emissions of 0.5 of a tonne every year.

“My payback period will be well within five years,” said Mihevc, who lives in the home with his wife, two daughters and son.

Other speakers at the demonstration included Jed Goldberg from West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy[/url], and Vladan Veljovic, president and CEO of GreenSaver[/url], the company specializes in residential energy conservation. Mihevc purchased the system on his own from GreenSaver, but received a discount because he purchased it with West Toronto initiative.

The grassroots residents’ organization provides business and homeowners with background research of both solar photovoltaic panels and thermal systems and the permit process, as well as discounts.

Mihevc is now eligible to receive $3,000 worth in incentive government grants, he said.

With almost 100 homes sporting solar panels in Ward 21, the area is one of the densest solar installation areas in the country, Goldberg said.

In the next few years, pressure will be on the provincial government to include solar photovoltaic panels and thermal heating in the construction of all new homes and buildings, Mihevc said.

“Our ultimate hope is by the next generation or so, each and every home in Ontario will have a solar unit on their roof.”

About this article:

By: Jordana Stier
Posted: Nov 4 2009 1:45 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto