What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ontario Clean Energy Benefit

The Ontario government announced the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, a 10% electricity rebate applicable to the entire electric bill, as part of their fall economic update today.  The rebate will go into effect January 1, 2011 but some will not see the rebate until May of 2011.  The rebate is retro-active to January though.  In perspective as a result of TOU pricing and the HST our hydro rates have gone up 17%.   So even with the rebate the end result will be a 7% increase on the hydro bill.  Initial predictions were by the end of 2011 hydro prices would be increased by 32%.  Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced today that hydro rates will continue to rise with a projected increase of 46% by 2015.  The reality is as hydro prices continue to rise the rebate of 10% means virtually nothing!

As a result of today's announcements, I have stepped up our plans to get off the grid (going completely solar, not connected to grid at all).  We had a 5 year plan but now I'm rethinking that.  We will be using both passive and active solar.  I am seriously tired of being held hostage by the Ontario government and Hydro One.  The only consideration is the house being on the market.  If we sell, a solar system will be installed upon moving in at a DIY cost of $5,000 to $7,000.  If we don't sell then we will install a DIY solar system here.  We have no intentions of installing a solar system that would feed back into the hydro system (grid-tied) either.  Rather it will be a completely have no use for the grid including feeding into it.  At $5,000 the pay back period with average current hydro bill of $125 would be 3.4 years so even if we went as high as $10,000 with a pay back of about 7 years we would still be well ahead and no longer dependent on the grid.  After that the system is basically making money for us.  However, with the projected rate increases the system will realize a shorter payback period 6 years at the $10,000 price tag.

A bit of research found a few in southern Ontario that are fully solar.  One house in particular is very impressive.  This house is considerably larger than our current house or any we are likely to buy.  I find this very encouraging because if others are doing it, we can too!

Garden Gnome