Living with Off Grid Power in Canada
OUR BEGINNINGOur experience living with off grid power began in 2005. You might say it was a mid-life crisis, coupled with becoming empty nesters. After spending 20 years working for a big power company in Calgary, my wife and I got itchy feet. But we decided to move to the Peace River district of Northern Alberta, near my small hometown of Beaverlodge. Our small 15-acre plot of land, which was mostly bush and a long driveway, cost us less than $20,000. It soon became our paradise. By the next summer, we had put a 1,200 square foot home on the property, complete with a septic system, drilled water well. Not to mention and a wood burning stove and a winters stock of firewood. Next came the solar panels and battery bank. We also invested in a 8 kilowatt back-up generator, which we set up in our workshop and connected to our solar power system with an auto start/stop function. The result? Reliable power and plenty of heat in our home throughout all the seasons. Also, we’re no longer dependent on big power companies.
OFF GRID SOLUTIONSAlthough we’re living using off grid power, we haven’t compromised on modern conveniences. Our home has a TV, computer, large refrigerator, stainless steel dishwasher, 5 burner propane stove, besides 2 small deep freezers. Our laundry room has a front-loading washer and propane clothes dryer, in addition our master bedroom has an air conditioner for hot summer days. During the second winter in our off grid home, we spent $700 in diesel, $400 in propane, and $300 in firewood. We were shocked that all of our utilities came in under $1,500! That winter we added an auto generator start system to our solar battery bank. We also purchased a low power egg incubator and brooder so we could begin to raise our own chickens (and then turkey and geese). Our Chicken Stock started from a more natural free roaming variety, suitable for our small acreage.
OUR IMPROVEMENTSSince then, we’ve moved our solar panels from a ground mount to a pole, as greater efficiency technology allow us to use six panels instead of nine. Our first battery bank gave us 12 years of service (despite the abuse it took in the first few years). The auto start system on our generator was worth the investment, since it not only cut back on the diesel consumption, but also increased the life of the batteries. Off grid power in Canada is what real alternative energy is all about! It’s about energy freedom, also low utility costs, and sustainable living. Off the power grid provides a lot of freedom, but one thing is certain we do not lack for electricity during the winter storms! In fact when the neighbors lights go out they are attracted like moths to our warm fire and bright porch light.
We opened our presence on the web in 2005, the same year we installed our home power system. For this reason we started simply as Solarwyse Ltd. We were determined to start our company without incurring a huge debt. So we began slowly and based our company on honesty and knowledge.
We felt the need to share our experiences with anyone that would listen. Therefore helping others gain energy freedom. Also it would cost nothing but building trust and a company brand. Something we could be proud of. Our biggest asset was our knowledge and experiences with the off grid lifestyle.
As the years progressed we gained that reputation for honesty. Along with and willingness to share trade secrets with our clients. Thus we not only gained more clients. With a reputation for integrity we joined the ranks of a few other straight shooters in the industry.
HOME SOLAR SOLUTIONS
By 2015 we had sold home solar kits and solutions right across Canada and into the Territories. Our reputation and name was beginning to be recognized Canada wide. But we felt we were more than just a sales company we had to re-brand. We decided upon Solarwyse Solar Power Solutions Inc. We had become something more than just a web sales outlet.
The word SOLARWYSE became a registered trade mark in Canada. Thus a protected name based on trust and reliability.