B and B thrives on solar power

Since switching to solar power three years ago at the Princess and the Pea bed and breakfast, owner Wally Martin has cut his electricity consumption by 90 per cent. - Ashleigh Beaudoin/Langley Times
Since switching to solar power three years ago at the Princess and the Pea bed and breakfast, owner Wally Martin has cut his electricity consumption by 90 per cent.
— image credit: Ashleigh Beaudoin/Langley Times

Thursday, May 5, 2011, was a milestone at the Princess and the Pea bed and breakfast, as they have exported 995 kilowatt hours of excess power from their solar panel system in three years.

By the end of that week, they had exported a total of 1 Megawatt hours.

The small Langley bed and breakfast installed 10 solar panels in late May of 2008 and hasn’t turned them off since then.

Over the past three years, the Princess and the Pea has produced 4.418  1 Megawatt hours of electricity. Only 75 per cent of this energy is used on site and the excess is exported to B.C. Hydro to be used province-wide.

On a sunny day the panels can produce about 1000 watts of energy, enough to power 100 light bulbs, but at the Princess and the Pea the amount of energy they make and use is constantly changing.

On a cloudy day, the panels are still generating energy, but just enough for Princess and the Pea to cover their own consumption.

Even with the panels generating energy for them, Wally Martin, Princess and the Pea owner, decided to change all the house’s light bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs.

“You don’t have to light an entire gymnasium to read a book,” he said.

Since installing the solar panels and making more energy-smart choices, the Martins have cut their power consumption from B.C. hydro by 90 per cent.

More recently, when one of the business’s refrigerators broke down, Martin did some research on energy-smart fridges and came to a decision to spend money on quality. By ordering two sun frost fridges, each burning only .3 kwh per day, the Martins will further add to their power savvy household and business.

“Our lifestyle is still perfectly good,” he said. They still have everything they need and are able to enjoy life knowing that they are contributing to the environment by lowering their consumption.

Solar power goes along with the natural progression of things, according to Martin. It’s not quite province-wide yet, but the movement is growing.

“We’re just part of the wave, but it’s not a tsunami yet.”

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