Renewable Energy can be Simple and Fun

Tim Short and his family have long been invested in renewable energy and are now passing on their experiences to the community. It all started in 2007 when Tim and his wife installed a thermal solar (roof-mounted) hot water heater in order to cut down on natural gas bills, learn about solar energy, and help the environment. Since installing the solar water heater, the couple found their natural gas consumption for hot water heating has been cut in half, accomplishing their goal of reducing their consumption of fossil fuels as well as lowering their bill.

Tim short home2They were so happy with the results that two years later in 2009, they decided to install a rooftop 3.2kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system through the micro-FIT program offered by the Ontario government. They receive a fixed rate for all of the electricity they generate and feed into the grid. Apart from the financial return, Tim became even more intrigued with electricity generation using the sun and began presenting “how it works” to the local community and school.

His latest installation is one of the most interesting – a 1.5 kW net-metered PV-solar system installed in 2016. This system allows his hydro meter to run backwards when the system is generating more electricity than the house is using, or can slow down the meter when they are using more electricity than the system can generate. Tim is a strong believer of this system saying that this setup is the “next big evolution” in solar electricity. Although there were multiple hurdles to get this system installed, the family is now enjoying their renewable energy and all its benefits.

Tim short home 3

Tim also installed 2 solar-powered attic fans in order to keep the attic cooler in the hot summer months. With the solar panels from all his systems covering a large portion of his roof, Tim’s roof will last longer (shingles are not exposed to the elements as much) and believes that it even keeps his house a bit cooler seeing as sunlight warms the solar panels as opposed to his roof.

What does the future have in store for Tim and his family? Well, he is interested in adding a storage component to their net-metered solar array. Tim also is interested in the idea of running a vehicle on at least partially solar power (i.e. with his net metered system) and can see an electric vehicle being the next step for his family.

If you would like to learn more about Tim’s solar systems, or how you could do it yourself, he will be opening his doors September 10th from 9:00am – 3:00pm, at 5 Randolph Road in Toronto. Register for Tim’s energy efficient home tour