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Ocean Energy

The ocean can be harnessed to convert the energy of ocean waves and tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. However, a number of technical, economic and environmental barriers remain and, as a result, ocean energy is currently not a widely exploited energy source.

There is decades of research on this type of renewable energy and to date only large scale projects are giving results. The biggest detractor is the uncertainty of the waves and weather.

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Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy can be generated from heat beneath the earth’s surface or from heat in the atmosphere and oceans. Geothermal energy can be captured from naturally occurring underground steam to produce electricity. Another way in this category is by heating and cooling achieved by temperature differential between outside air and the ground or groundwater (heat pump). In other words, if there is a differential in temperature, the difference can either heat or cool a gas like a fridge or air conditioner.

This heat pump technology is usually combined with hot water heating or cooling and can be large or small. Large-scale applications are more for electrical power generation.

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Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy from the sun in the form of heat and light. The sun’s energy can be used to provide lighting and heat for buildings and to produce electricity. It is also considered a part of hydroelectricity as the sun’s actions on water cause evaporation and rain to fill reservoirs.

Historically, solar energy has been harnessed through passive solar systems.  Solar energy can be harnessed only during the day and only if the sunlight.

Today, two active solar technologies that involve electrical or mechanical equipment are becoming more common. First, solar collectors or panels are used to heat water or ventilation air for use in buildings. Second, solar photovoltaic technology uses solar cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Off-grid or grid-tie systems can use battery storage to alleviate the shortfall of darkness interfering in the production of energy. There are other ways to ‘store’ the energy by pumping water to a tank above a micro-hydro generator for later use. Even compressed air can run a back-up generator!

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Wind Power

The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into useful forms of energy such as mechanical energy or electricity. For centuries, wind energy has been harnessed for sailing ships, to turn mills, and to pump water. Today, wind is used more and more to generate electricity. Turbines with large propellers on ‘wind farms’ that are located prime wind corridors and are tied to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.

Canada has large areas with excellent wind resources and therefore a significant potential for the expansion of wind-generated power. Some of the highest quality areas are offshore and along coastlines. For more local and homestead uses, a wind turbine is an excellent addition to a PV (solar panel) system. For example, BC’s coastal climate sees more wind and rain than sunny days. Although solar panels will generate some power in cloudy weather, wind turbines are perfect for those story days.

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Hydroelectricity is the most common form of renewable energy produced in Canada. The flow of water in rivers produces kinetic energy that can be transformed into usable electric energy. 

Prior to the invention of electricity, waterwheels created mechanical power for milling grain, sawing, and for irrigation.

To produce hydroelectricity, water flow is directed to spin a turbine, which is connected to an electric generator and this action generates electricity.

The amount of energy produced from flowing water depends on the amount and speed of the water. Systems Solar works with micro-hydro power designs. This can be as small as a english muffin or even more substantial depending on the need. For example, water flowing through a water-main can power a beacon (to ensure water supply at night) or charge station for your phone or other device. 

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What is Renewable Energy?

As described by the National Research Council of Canada, “renewable energy is energy derived from natural processes that are replenished at a rate that is equal to or faster than the rate at which they are consumed. There are various forms of renewable energy, deriving directly or indirectly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. They include energy generated from solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources, solid biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels. Biomass, however, is a renewable resource only if its rate of consumption does not exceed its rate of regeneration.”

So this means in simple terms the energy created does not exceed the consumption. Systems Solar works primarily in micro-hydro, wind, solar photo-voltaic (PV), and thermal.

Additional Information

Energy-producing technologies and equipment have been developed over time to take advantage of these natural resources. So ‘usable’ energy can be produced in the form of electricity, industrial heat, thermal energy for a number of uses. 

With its large landmass and diversified geography, Canada has an abundance of renewable resources that can be used to produce energy. Canada is a world leader in the production and use of energy from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources currently provide 18.9 per cent of Canada’s total primary energy supply.

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West Kootenay Power & Light Building and Systems Solar

This building is an icon of the Crowsnest Highway. It was decommissioned as a substation in the late 90’s. Since then it has been sitting idle with only a few improvements over the decades. It is now being leased by Systems Solar in a deal that will assist the stakeholders of the building to see it utilized as more than just its aging shell.

The goal of Systems Solar is to take the three sections of the building and give them each their own distinct characters. The front section will be a renewable energy business incubator. The centre section will be part of the museum, as well as a film set (very Frankenstein’s lab), and its acoustics will make it a very amazing music recording studio.

There will be a site visit this week Wednesday March 4th, 2020 between 4 and 5 PM. If you wish to attend please email:

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Tech Service in the Boundary

Well, it seems that small towns need services just like big cities. So when Systems Solar found out that Greenwood and Midway did not have technical repair services for personal and commercial electronics we decided that we would fill that gap. Martin has owned repair and service shops in the past and given that he worked on major building projects and repaired the tiniest of electric device, he is no stranger to repair.

So, bring in your broken and failing gear. Musical, phone, computer, or whatever you want and he can try to make it work like new.

To order a service call, or to arrange a drop off, please click here

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A Little SSL

We have completed our server upgrades and now have secured our site with SSL. This means our site cannot be hijacked by criminals. The SSL certificate means the location of the site, and the data shared with it, is secure. 

You will now see a lock, or a green indicator in the search bar above. This says the site is using the “https://“ protocol and it is the industry standard for security.

Now you can safely shop and communicate on our site! It’s a good day to go solar!