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A solar powered first

A Summerland company, along with others, spent much of Friday working on installing a large solar tracker at a home in the hills west of Penticton.

The tracker with a 40 panel solar array is going in at the home of Peter Lindelauf and Jenny Paquet to help them cut down on their energy costs.

"We are thrilled and hopeful we can generate 72 percent of our annual power usage with this solar array," said Paquet.

A number of winters ago, the couple super insulated their attic, according to Lindelauf, and their power consumption went down 30 percent in the winter.

But when FortisBC introduced their new two tier billing system , their power bill went up 50 percent.

"That's when we decided to go solar," he said.

In April of 2013, Paquet contacted Pro Eco Energy, a BC renewable energy company in Summerland, asking about getting solar roofing.

The roof proved to be too shaded, and the company determined it could be placed in the backyard of the house where it would get the most sun.

"We consulted and Peter and Jenny got excited about installing the tracker, and we went from there," said Susan Huber, the company's executive secretary.

In November, the tracker, which will be the first in Western Canada, according to Huber,  was ordered from a German company.

It arrived in mid-March and installation work on the array, which generates up to 55 percent more output than a non moving installation, was started on the property. The annual output is 18,714 kWh per year in Penticton.

On Friday, company employees, as well as representatives from the German manufacturer, were on site for the final step of installation.

It was a painstaking process, entailing first placing a long mast on a foundation using a crane, then hoisting the large solar tracker up on to the mast.

It will then be connected to the grid.

"I'm very happy for the people that they got what they really wanted," said Huber. "I feel like Santa Claus or the fairy godmother checking off something on the clients' wish list."

As of mid-day Friday, the effort to lift the solar tracker on to the mast was still underway.




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