Kingston, Ontario, organization calls for 1,000 solar rooftops

Photo: istockphotos/gchutka

The non-profit organization SWITCH is hoping to promote the use of renewable energy among homeowners in Kingston and southeastern Ontario. During its “1,000 Solar Rooftops Challenge,” representatives from the organization will be going door to door in order to inform people whether or not they have a roof suitable for solar panel installation and, if so, what options are available to them. Potential power producers can take advantage of government incentives, financing deals and rebates to help pay for installations and, in some cases, even generate a profit from their investment.

Factors that can make a roof more suitable for solar panel installation include orientation, shading and size. Solar rooftops are not a particularly common sight in the Kingston region, but members of SWITCH are hoping to change this by talking directly to people about the benefits of renewable energy, including more income, less pollution and greater energy security.

SWITCH is a network of volunteers, businesses, researchers and educational institutions keen on making Kingston a leading centre for renewable energy. According to Challenge Coordinator Tyson Champagne, SWITCH's ultimate goal is to get “a thousand homes and businesses converted to solar energy by 2011.”

With the provincial government looking to get rid of coal-fired generation plants by 2014, there is a real push to promote the use of renewable energy sources where possible. By encouraging homeowners and businesses to adopt solar technology, SWITCH representatives hope to position Kingston well ahead of this deadline as the city increasingly produces its own energy from clean sources.

Solar Panel Installation Is Key to Improving Economy in Ontario

SWITCH Executive Director Ted Hsu highlights the benefits that renewable energy can bring to Kingston and the wider Canadian economy. Not only can solar installations increase property values, but also, by branding the area as a “leading adopter of renewable energy” solar companies may be encouraged to establish a more permanent presence in the region. The investments, jobs and demand for skilled training that come with a move to solar power can certainly help to stimulate the economy in Ontario and Canada as a whole.

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Austin Brentley is a born and bred Washingtonian who has spent the last 9 years traveling the globe, living in New York, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, France, and most recently, Malaysia.  Passionate about all things green, Austin currently works with the Ontario Solar Academy, writing news stories and blogs about North America's growing solar revolution.  Feel free to drop him a line if you have questions about photovoltaic technology or solar panel installation training.