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Penticton  

Solar business booming

A Summerland solar technology company is doing big business with area wineries.

Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. is putting the finishing touches on a major installation at the Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver, which sees the roof of a carport built out of solar panels.

“People can park now and have shade when they go for wine tasting, that’s something big for the Okanagan,” company CEO Roger Huber said. “It’s a really unique system.”

Burrowing Owl now hosts 541 solar panels and 75 square meters of solar hot water, which will produce just under 200,000 kWh of electricity per year offsetting 101 tons of carbon emissions.

Wineries have become some of Swiss Solar’s largest customers over the past few years, with a 428 panel installation at Poplar Grove in Penticton planned in the coming weeks.

The two recent winery installations are some of the biggest in the entire Okanagan, only surpassed by a couple public projects such as the installation atop Okanagan College in Kelowna.

While the majority of his clients are commercial, Huber said they are seeing significant growth in the residential market as well.

He indicated that they have turned away jobs, because there are more customers than they can handle.

“We are expanding and hiring people,” he said, noting it can be difficult to find talent because they often stop work for two to three months in the winter.

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