Installation of Solar Panels at the Sisters of St. Martha in Nova Scotia

by | Mar 16, 2018 | News

Sister Donna Brady with an array of solar panels the Sisters of St. Martha had installed to reduce their carbon footprint and their energy costs. (AARON BESWICK / Staff, The Chronicle Herald)

Aaron Beswick of The Chronicle Herald reports on the increasing number of homes and businesses in Nova Scotia who are using solar panels including the Sisters of St. Martha:

In 2008, the Sisters of St. Martha were looking to continue a long tradition of acting on their beliefs.

“We really have a sense of the oneness of everything and being called to be in right relationship with creation,” said Sister Donna Brady on Tuesday.

The Antigonish-based order wanted to reduce their carbon footprint. But beyond their desire to tread softly on this warming planet, they also had to be financially prudent. “At the time (2008), solar panels were just too expensive,” said Brady.

According to the National Energy Board the installed price of solar panel-generated electricity in 2004 was $6.18 per watt. By 2014 improvements to the technology in photovoltaic cells and the efficiencies created by larger production brought the price down to 85 cents per watt.

The price to install solar panels has continued to drop while electricity, bought off the grid, has been heading in the other direction.

On Jan. 31, Nova Scotia Power filed its annual net metering report to the province’s utility and review board. While still small, the report shows that the number of Nova Scotians tying solar power-generated electricity into the grid from their homes is increasing exponentially.

In 2015, 43 homes and businesses in this province began producing electricity using solar panels. In 2016, it was 89 homes and businesses, and in 2017 the number went up to 133. Nova Scotia Power predicts that 150-160 new solar systems will be added to the grid in 2018.

“This upward trend may be attributable to reduced costs, increased financing options and increased marketing by the solar industry, which has in turn increased customer interest,” reads the report.

On Tuesday, Sister Brady was looking at the solar panels that the Sisters of St. Martha had teamed up with the Antigonish Community Energy Cooperative to install on two of their cottages — one of 50 solar installs the group has done over the past three years.

“We heat the cottages year round and this puts a dent in our costs,” said Brady.

And more importantly to the order of nuns, it brings them into a more “right relationship” with the natural world.

To read the entire article or view the source in The Chronicle Herald, click here.


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