Dozens of Manitobans applying for solar energy program

WINNIPEG – A new set of Manitoba Hydro programs is causing Manitobans to embrace solar energy.

Since Manitoba Hydro launched the Power Smart Solar Energy Program in April, they have received 53 applications for new solar energy systems.

“The program has been really well received by our customers and the response we’ve been very pleased with,” said Scott Powell with Manitoba Hydro.

Of the 53 applications, 3 systems are now fully operational and another six systems have been installed and are waiting for an inspection before they go online.

One of the three functioning systems belongs to Courteny Schappert of Winnipeg. On sunny days it provides more power than is used in his south end home.

“At night I’m using Hydro and then in the day I’m generating more than I’m using and Hydro pays me for that,” said Schappert.

The system switches between using traditional hydro and solar power.

When the solar system is pulling in more energy than is being used, it is redirected back into the grid and Hydro credits Schappert on his monthly bill.

The solar system cost around $25,000 but the Hydro program covered around 25 per cent of the installation and provides financing for the majority of the remainder.

“It really goes a long way towards reducing that up-front cost and making it a little more affordable over the long run,” said Powell.

For Schappert, the program provided the push he needed to purchase and install the solar system.

Even though there is less daylight in winter, he’s confident there’s still plenty of sun to keep things running.

With all the savings, he’s hoping to have the system paid off in around 12 years.

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