May 17, 2017 · 10:25 AM

Ponoka resident Edwin Geuder took the plunge and has entered the world of solar energy production. Rather than a traditional roof to his new car port, Geuder opted for solar panels. / Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

A Ponoka resident flipped the switch on solar energy last week.

After several months of legwork Edwin Geuder brought solar power to his house and he connected to the grid May 12. The process took some work but he found a way to make it viable for his needs by using solar panels as the roof for his newly constructed car port.

“We wanted to build a car port anyway and when we thought about all the space available, (we thought) why don’t we try solar,” said Geuder.

His house’s roof is not ideally located to take advantage of the sun’s rays but the car port worked for his needs. A total of 20 panels have been installed on the car port roof with room for up to 36.

The current panels can generate up to 5.2 kilowatts, said Geuder, which is roughly what is needed in one year to run his home.

“What we hope to do is basically get electricity free or we produce more electricity in the summer time and pump back into the net and basically be a surplus in funds,” said Geuder.

He says with the money that comes back to the home from extra electricity production, which goes to Enmax, will pay for the electricity needed in the winter time. Currently Geuder does not store the energy generated from the panels.

After some research and shopping around, Geuder said he was able to purchase solar panels out of California, which were made in Germany, for less than 60 per cent of the current price in Canada. Even with the brokerage and shipping fees, Geuder explained that he paid less than $8,000.

It takes a few months to go from plans to completed project. Geuder had to complete several pages of forms, which is essentially a contract with the power provider outlining what happens with the power if there is more produced than what the home needs.

And just like any major home improvement, installation must be inspected and approved.

There are several Ponoka homeowners who use solar power, said Geuder, but he was able to take advantage of a DC power setup with a strong inverter. Geuder had to ensure special construction specifications on the car port were used, plus bring in Phase 3 Electric for important installation steps.