The first thing about starting a project like this is to recognize that it’s not going to be inexpensive. It’s a long-term investment – no different than putting an addition on your home that you plan to live in for a while. Therefore, one needs to do their research by finding companies that have a vested interest in helping you engineer the right solution for your needs. Never rely on an organization who provides an over the phone quote, that hasn’t taken the necessary time to visit your site.
We decided to only work with green energy companies that can demonstrate:
⦁ A stellar track record for delivering quality (references, experience);
⦁ Staying power (20+ years in the business);
⦁ A local presence in our community (this is key when dealing with the local utility/hydro);
⦁ Technical and managerial leadership to drive the project forward;
⦁ Trust – the person in charge will become your trusted advisor, by looking out for your best interests. Technical discussions will take place that are far from intuitive to understand if you don’t have the background.
We chose Generation Solar(GS), a small local Peterborough firm that was founded by 2 engineers with over 20 years of complex project experience. After making that decision, choosing the other suppliers was somewhat easier.
With an objective to completely transfer off of hydro in 2023, GS reviewed our annual hydro usage from past years, and then reverse engineered the number of solar panels required to meet our needs. With that in mind, GS recommended three large roofs, but we only had two.
To meet our objective, we needed a third location, which would entail a 30ft x63ft area to place the solar panels, and I knew the perfect location. However, this added cost wasn’t envisioned upfront. So, we needed to rethink our project scope, and whether the additional cost was worth it!
Enter our application to FedDev for tourism funding, plus the benefits that we and our guests would derive from having both a storage garage, and an extended roof covered recreational area for guests to enjoy at the back of our property. That said, most important to us is our protection of the environment, which we are very passionate about, and want to sustain for future families to experience and enjoy.
When you stop to think about it, our largest financial events in life tend to be those that we are most passionate about, not due to necessity, but because of the way they make us feel. (i.e. large weddings, buying a home/cottage, vacations, having kids, family events, vehicles).
Hence, project Sun Dog was born.
Our next update will discuss my role in the project, and the criticality of managing all the moving pieces, each with specific deadlines, while also managing our busy resort.