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Sault United Church believes solar panels will attract younger members

Sault Star | By Jeffrey Ougler

Generating power and raising revenue plug nicely into the plan.

But the solar panels now adorning East Korah Maxwell United Church’s roof mean something more: a message the church is enlightened, a quality leaders there hope might prompt more young people to rise and shine on Sunday mornings.

“There were a number of (reasons) … financially, obviously, was one of them, but we also wanted to look as though we are progressively thinking and looking toward the future,” said Lorri Sawchyn, a board member at the Fourth Line East church.

“And we also want to do something to help the environment because, if you can, why not.”

Thirty-somethings Lorri and her husband, Trevor, who have two small children, are some of the youngest members of the congregation, which numbers about 60 during peak attendance periods.

“You want to look as open thinking as much as you can,” said Trevor.

“And one of the things solar does for you is it’s green … It is viewed as being progressive and is viewed as being a little more optimistic about the church’s future and a little more of a forward-thinking congregation and board that might be attractive to some of the younger people.”

East Korah Maxwell United is the first regional church to go solar — the concept has already gathered ground in southern Ontario — and the Sawchyns say other area religious facilities may soon follow suit.

It’s not necessarily surprising a United Church would adopt an environmentally friendly enterprise given the church’s progressive views on green, as well as social, issues.

But old Presbyterian principles still hold a prime place in the church’s psyche, such as an abiding respect for money and a profound distaste for waste.

Lorri said these factors were in mind when the church looked to the sky as a means of bolstering revenue.

“If you can make money in the meantime doing it, then it certainly makes sense,” she added.

“And you’re not doing anything exciting with (roofs), so you might as well use them.”

Trevor said churches that rely heavily on collections and “people being in the pews” often shoulder a dip in revenue over the summer when members go to the cottage “or it’s too hot to be at church — all those other good reasons (to be away).”

But that’s also when solar profits are maximized.

“So, it’s helping offset (decreased) cash flow when the church needs it the most,” he added.

“And that is really helping to add to the sustainability of the church. It gives them more of an optimistic look. You still have to pay your bills, you still have to pay (for) your electricity, you still have to pay your minister, but you don’t have the incoming cash flow from other fundraising events and other stuff — they just don’t happen in the summer. This helps augment that when you need it.”

Lorri brought the solar panel prospect to the church’s board about a year ago.

“I told them, ‘This is just is something we could look at to make an additional income to help with our bottom line,’ ” she said.

The congregation then gave its blessing.

“Our bottom line is doing fine, but if you can make money off your roof, then why not?”

East Korah Maxwell United inked a 20-year contract with Ontario Power Authority, which guarantees the church a certain rate per kilowatt hours generated.

The panel package, purchased from and installed by Solar Logix, for which Trevor is a project manager, cost $70,000, which came exclusively from the Sault Ste. Marie’s church’s coffers, specifically its building fund, only accessible for capital projects.

“We felt we should take some money out of that and invest in something that’s giving us the return, which is significantly higher than, say, a savings account,” Lorri said.

“When you’re looking at like 2% interest on a savings account and 14% return on an investment on the solar panels, it was pretty much a given.”

The church expects to have the panels paid off in seven years and income — estimates ring in at about $10,000 annually — will be taxed.

Two programs were available to the church: microfit and fit. It opted for the former, which offers a maximum 10-kilowatt production.

“Basically, the microfit program pays better rates than the fit program does,” Lorri said.

“So we could have had more panels up there, we could have gotten a bigger system, but with a microfit program, they cap it out at 10-kilowatt production.”

The idea was to maximize as much south-facing roof of the relatively small, wooden structure as possible, as panels there are most productive.

“The slope on this is not that great, so you can still get great production on your east/west-facing surfaces in order to (provide) returns for the church and make them as much money as they can on their investments,” Trevor said.

Courtesy: The Sault Star

Solar Logix recognized by the Consumer Choice Awards

Solar Logix is proud to announce that we have been selected as the 2012 Consumer Choice Award winner in the category of Solar Energy Systems for the greater city of Hamilton. The award recognizes Solar Logix as the top-ranked provider of solar panel systems as selected by consumers and businesses.

Solar Logix would like to thank the city of Hamilton for choosing us for the award!

Sault Ste. Marie Solar Logix: A meal fit for the Kings

Gerry Bugyra, General Manager, SSM, Trevor Sawchyn, Project Manager, SSM, Penny King, Marvyn King, Kieran O'Neill, Sales and Marketing, SSM

May 14th, 2012 (Sault Ste Marie) – Penny and Marvyn King, of Peoples Road, Sault Ste Marie celebrated their “Grid Tie” Solar Array Installation with 24 family and friends at Aurora’s Westside meeting room. The “Grid Tie Gratitude Party” was a first and sponsored by Solar Logix, SSM. “It is our way of giving something back to our clients and the community with gratitude and saying thank you for your support” says Gerry Bugyra, General Manager of Solar Logix here in Sault Ste Marie. Penny and Marvyn King accepted their 500.00 bonus cheque for signing up with Solar Logix new free leasing program that was recently introduce to Sault Ste Marie and the surrounding area. “The free leasing program allows the home owner or business to have solar on their roof at no cost to them and receive cash back for leasing their roof” says Bugyra. “We buy all of our solar modules locally at Heliene and do the installations with our own local certified installers which means jobs in SSM and with First Nations”. Solar Logix opened its office Sept 2011 with several microFIT and FIT projects now in the pipeline. The company is nearing competition of the 90 Kw solar array installations at Ecole Notre-Dame du Sault on North Street and recently installed several roof mount and ground mount systems as well Bugyra confirmed today “We plan to train and hire two more installation crews based on the pending application contracts with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and we plan on many more “Grid Tie Gratitude Parties” in the community and surrounding area” Solar Logix presently employs 12 full time staff with offices located at 123 March Street here in Sault Ste Marie.

Logical foray into solar

Solar Logix joins Sault’s renewable energy sector

By Lindsay Kelly Northern Ontario Business, May 2012.

Riding in on the wave of renewable energy companies calling Sault Ste. Marie home, Solar Logix has joined the trend, taking a unique approach to local training and employment.

The company, which opened its Sault Ste. Marie office in September, is embarking on a partnership with the Batchewana First Nation on training programs that will eventually provide employment for residents of that community. Solar Logix is awaiting feedback on similar agreements with the Garden River and Pic Mobert First Nations.

In November, eight members of the Batchewana First Nation graduated as certified solar array installers for Solar Logix, and the intent is to hire those graduates to install solar arrays both on the reserve and in the greater Algoma community, said Gerry Bugyra, Solar Logix SSM’s general manager.

“We’re looking forward to closer ties and closer relationships with the First Nations,” Bugyra said. “Working towards sustainability has always been my goal with First Nations. There is a lot of opportunity there for us to do work with them, so we’re doing very well. We have a very good relationship with these folks.”

Beyond work in solar array installation, Bugyra believes the economic development generated from the solar array installations will result in additional small business spinoff opportunities for community members.

Bugyra is no stranger to small business development. A son of Wawa, Bugyra started out his career as an underground diesel mechanic before returning to school for a business administration degree. He oversaw a series of retail outlets before embarking on the most ambitious of his ventures: a pellet business that used Waste from three Wawa-area mills.

That business fell through before it could get off the ground, but it didn’t deter Bugyra from seeking out new enterprises. He strongly believes solar energy will be a major contributor to Ontario’s power supply.

“My career at this point, to be where I am, I think everything I’ve done in the last 30 years has prepared me for his job,” he said. “I want to give my all to this company because I really think that they’re well placed in the industry.”

Although currently awaiting approval of rates for new solar energy projects from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), Solar Logix has quickly moved to pick up projects already approved through the province’s Feed-in Tariff program, including a 90 kilowatt (kw) flat roof-mount solar array at Ecole Notre Dame des Grand Lacs.

Bugyra estimates the company has 50 projects pending OPA approval, but in the meantime, is offering clients free pre-feasibility studies in the lead up to approval. The company additionally offers 10-year unconditional guarantees for all their installations, and will repair the system at cost if anything goes wrong with it.

The Sault office employs 15 people in sales, installation, engineering and site assessment, but as business increases, Bugyra expects to hire another 10 to 15 people to fill out an additional two or three crews.

With its head office in Thunder Bay, other locations include Oakville, Hamilton, Ottawa and Sudbury. The catchment area of the Sault office stretches from Wawa to Blind River and up to Chapleau.

“They’re a young company, but they’re very aggressive and they’re well place in the market,” Bugyra said. “They have six divisions throughout Ontario and they’re looking at opening another three to four in the next year or so, so they have some good plans.”

A big supporter of local business, Bugyra noted that all six Solar Logix divisions purchase solar panels solely from Sault-based Heliene and aims to do the bulk of its buying from Sault businesses.

Address critics who suggest the solar energy industry has been too thoroughly subsidized by the provincial government, Bugyra points to the bailouts offered to the automotive industry in recent years. By investing in subsidies, Ontarians are investing in job creation, he said.

“It’s all about jobs,” Bugyra said. “There’s a big future in job generation in the solar industry, and what industry hasn’t been subsidized one way or the other?”

Though he doesn’t foresee a day when renewable energy overcomes fossil fuels as Ontario’s primary source of power, Bugyra does believe it could be on par with it. The province’s renewable energy sector should be further evolved than it is now, said Bugyra, who’d like to see the adoption of the Feed-in Tariff program right across Canada.

“When you look at a 10 kW system, you can actually end up paying, over the term of the contract, almost one third of your mortgage,” Bugyra said. “So if you can have the sun help pay for your mortgage, what an investment.”

Upcoming Solar Logix seminars in Hamilton and Ottawa

Solar Logix will continue our effort to educate the province of Ontario about the benefits of solar energy by holding two free solar seminars in May — one in Smithville, Ontario (between Hamilton and Niagara Falls) and another in Manotick, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa). A team of solar consultants from Solar Logix will gather for a presentation providing information about the OPA microFIT program and our new free solar offer.

Solar Logix will be in Smithville, Ontario at the Pancake House Banquet Hall on 214 West Street from 7 to 9pm on Thursday, May 10th, 2012. An email RSVP to StoneyCreek@SolarLogix.ca is appreciated to track the anticipated attendance but not required.

Solar Logix will be in Manotick, Ontario at Manotick United Church on 5567 Main St. from 7 to 8pm on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012. An email RSVP can be sent to Ottawa@SolarLogix.ca, but is not required.

Everyone who has an interest in solar energy and learning about the benefits of harnessing the power from the sun is encouraged to attend. Homeowners and farmers interested in a custom solar array system will especially benefit from the Solar Logix seminar.

At the end of each session there will be a question and answer session, and hot and cold beverages (coffee, tea, water) will be provided.

Please contact a Solar Logix solar consultant in Hamilton at 905-664-4713 or in Ottawa at 613-747-8888.

Solar Logix first free solar install is a success!

It didn’t take long for the free solar program to take off. Although the campaign launched only a few weeks ago, Solar Logix has already received a great deal of interest throughout Ontario from people looking to take advantage of free solar.

On April 16th, 2012, Solar Logix put the finishing touches on it’s very first free solar installation in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. It’s the first of many to be installed over the next few months. The proud owners of the rooftop solar array could not be more thrilled with their installation. Solar Logix hopes the 9.468 kW rooftop solar array will further province-wide interest in solar energy and encourage new customers to participate in the program.

With the slogan “Free Solar…we pay you!”, the program offers any homeowner in Ontario a chance to have a fully functional rooftop solar array installed on their home at no cost to them. Solar Logix will pay a $500 sign up bonus and an annual fee for 20 years to homeowners who sign up and have the installation completed. At the end of the 20 year term, the solar array belongs to the homeowner.

To participate in Solar Logix free solar program, fill out the brief application form. If you’re interested in the program but would like to learn more, please click here for a full free solar program outline.

Solar Logix has six locations throughout Ontario: Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Oakville, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Hamilton. Please contact a solar consultant in your region to learn more about the benefits of having a rooftop solar array installed on your home.

Solar Logix to purchase older microFIT contracts

Many microFIT applications in Ontario have been unable to connect because of grid capacity limitations. While thousands of small projects have been approved and connected, many local hydro providers are currently experiencing technical limitations known as constraints. The most common constraint is the physical limitation of power available in rural service areas, which serves as the location for many project applications. The electrical cables used in rural service areas are thinner, as they were not intended to service a large number of customers; thus, there is a much smaller transfer of electricity. In these areas, the lines are becoming overloaded when more electricity is fed back to the grid than the line was meant to deliver.

Solar Logix – a full service solar provider with six locations across Ontario (Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Oakville, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Hamilton) – is looking to purchase OPA microFIT contracts, new and old, for solar development. This may be the ideal opportunity for customers that are no longer interested in waiting to have their potential system connected to the grid at a profit.

If you have or had an OPA microFIT contract that you would like to see developed, do not hesitate to call a Solar Logix location near you. Our solar consultants are looking forward to assisting you with all your solar needs.

Solar Logix raises the bar with free solar campaign

Over the past two years, Solar Logix has grown exponentially. The company has expanded from its one location in Thunder Bay to six locations across Ontario: Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Oakville, Hamilton, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. With the intention to be Ontario’s leading provider of OPA microFIT approved solar arrays in tact, Solar Logix has continually made every effort to keep raising the bar. This time is no different.

For the very first time, Solar Logix is offering free solar arrays to qualifying rooftops in Ontario — completely installed and fully functional. This unique program affords every homeowner in Ontario the opportunity to harness solar energy without having to pay to have it installed. To begin, Solar Logix will pay the qualifying applicant a $500 sign-up bonus once their rooftop is approved and the installation is underway. Once the rooftop solar array is installed, the applicant has the potential to earn between $500 and $1200 annually for 20 years. After the 20 year term, the applicant becomes the owner of a free solar array which can be converted to off-grid use or can be renewed with the OPA if it is available.

If you would like to take advantage of this incredible offer, please click here and fill out the form on the right. If you would like more information about the program, do not hesitate to call a consultant at any of our six locations across Ontario. Our solar consultants are more than happy to help you take advantage of free solar.

Ontario solar leads the way

Ontario continues to be a leading market for solar energy in North America with its comprehensive renewable energy incentive.

In October 2009, the first ever FIT (feed-in-tariff) and microFIT (FIT installations that are under 10kW in size) solar energy programs were launched in Ontario. The program offered customers a unique way to develop clean sources of renewable energy while earning a profit in the process. The feed-in-tariff is a policy to increase the investment in renewable energy technologies by offering long-term (generally 20 year) contracts to producers of solar energy. Typically, any home or property owner in Ontario has the opportunity to benefit from solar energy and take part in the FIT and microFIT programs pending approval from the Ontario Power Authority.

The Feed-in-Tariff program has allowed Canada to build two solar farms, and has set a standard for the future of renewable energy. The solar farm in Sarnia, Ontario is one of the largest of its type in the world. The photovoltaic power plant is bigger than 80 megawatts in size and can power more than 12,000 homes. Not even a year later, the Sault Ste. Marie Solar Park became the second largest photovoltaic plant in Canada at 68 mW.

As of May, 2012, Solar Logix has been proud to have completed over 200 OPA microFIT approved solar array installations across the province of Ontario. A vast majority of these installs have been rooftop solar arrays seen on rooftops all over the province, but Solar Logix has also installed a handful of trackers and ground mount solar arrays for customers with large areas of available land.

Solar Logix has been a positive example of the growth of the solar industry. In just two years, the company has expanded from one office in Thunder Bay, Ontario to six across the province – Ottawa, Oakville, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Hamilton (Stoney Creek).

Solar Logix installations featured in Thunder Bay’s “Walleye” magazine

The April 2012 issue of Thunder Bay’s “The Walleye” magazine saw a sharp focus on solar energy, and featured several of the Solar Logix installs that were completed in Thunder Bay. The article “On the Grid: Why go solar?” featured “The Homeowner”, “The Business” and “The Church”. Solar Logix are proud to have been the solar installers for the McLean family (The Homeowners) and St. Stephen Martyr Anglican Church (The Church).

Feature #1: The McLean Family
The McLean Family were among the first participants in Thunder Bay to take advantage of Ontario’s microFIT solar program to earn a determined rate per kilowatt hour of solar energy they feed into the province’s power grid. Their Thunder Bay home has been a great revenue earner since they chose to hire Solar Logix to design and install their very own rooftop solar array.

Feature #2: St. Stephen The Martyr Anglican Church
The St. Stephen The Martyr Anglican Church in Thunder Bay was the first church building in Current River, and now is the first in its community to generate solar energy. Click here to view their daily and monthly stats and real time graphs, as well as information on the environmental benefits from the church’s wise choice.

The Walleye is an alternative arts and culture magazine in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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