Announcing: RISE Again!
April 19, 2008
For residents in the Riverdale Neighbourhood of Toronto, the RISE Again project has just been announced.
Our Power is a voluntary organization, partnered with the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op (TREC), whose mission is to promote and facilitate community-based sustainable energy projects. Our Power provides resources, support and information to community groups based on the growing body of experience and expertise developed through the range of community solar initiatives undertaken by affiliated groups.
Groups active in Ourpower have been responsible for the installation of 71 PV systems of 112 KW of installed capacity and 76 Solar Hot Water systems in Toronto in the last two years. For more details on each project click on the links on the right to access separate web pages for:
Riverdale Initiative for Solar Energy (RISE),
West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy (WISE) ,
Downtown West Solar energy Project (DWSEP),
Guelph Solar Project (GRASP) and
Valley Inititaive for Solar Energy (VISE).
In Toronto, WISE scheduled a Phase 2 beginning with Solar Information fair meetings on March 4th and 25th. The DWSEP held a meeting for their 2008 install season on March 19th and the Valley Initiative for Solar Energy has issued its Request for Proposals document. The City of Toronto and Toronto Atmospheric Fund supported South Riverdale Solar Hot water project is gearing up for a launch in May and is holding meetings of its Community Advisory Committee. For details visit the TAF website.
Enersource and Hydro One have teamed up to deliver zero interest loans for renewable energy systems, funded by the Ontario Government and will be launching the marketing plan in May with public workshops for consumers and suppport for the formation of buying groups in the “905” region beginning in June. NEXT Generation Energy Alternatives, in east end Toronto, formed to develop a co-operatively owned solar installation, is working on a feasibility study with funding from the Community Power Fund. The Windward Co-op is also undertaking a feasibility study on the potential for renewable energy to address the Co-op’s needs and the Arcadia Co-op on Bathurst Quay has just recommissioned its solar thermal system which provides hot water to the 100 +units of the co-op and shades the third story windows of the Co-op too.
Interest in community solar initiatives is building across the province of Ontario. The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and Go Solar organized 6 Solar Power Workshops in February and March in Waterloo, Pickering, Hamilton, Kingston, London and North Toronto Ward 16. For more details visit www.ontario-sea.org/solar and GoSolar
There is lots of action on Campuses in the GTA as well. Students at Trinity College of the U of Toronto are working on a project to install 75 KW, students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies are in discussions with the York University about installing PV on campus and students at Centennial College have voted to use part of their “Green Fee” to fund renewable energy on campus. The Toronto District School Board is looking at expanding PV installations on school roofs and incorporating renewable energy issues into their science curriculum in an active way.
In Waterloo, the Community Renewable Energy Waterloo (CREW) has just held its public meeting introducing its vendors as has the Guelph Solar Project. The Halton Environmental Network (HEN) is also looking into developing a solar initiative.
If you are interested in more information about Ourpower and starting your own community solar initiative use the contact form at the bottom of this page to send us your contact information and we will be in touch.
Zunior.com releases a new compilation – and it’s one powerful collection of songs.
Official Release: Our Power Solar Music Compilation
Press Release follows…
The Our Power Solar Music Compilation is a fundraiser for Our Power – a Toronto-based initiative that helps bring affordable solar power to people’s homes by getting entire neighbourhoods to buy and install systems. It will be available on Friday.
The album includes contributions by Sexsmith & Kerr, Gordon Downie of the Tragically Hip (recorded in his hotel room on his band s current tour),
The Violet Archers, former Inbreds lead man Mike O Neill, Jill Barber, Great Aunt Ida, In-Flight Safety, Egger, Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies, and Snailhouse. Many of the tracks on the digital-only release are previously unreleased; others are acoustic versions or alternate mixes.
Former Inbreds drummer and Zunior founder Dave Ullrich was one of the first participants in the Toronto Our Power initiative, installing a two-kilowatt solar system on his own home, along with 100 other families in his Riverdale neighbourhood. Because they arranged the purchase and installation of the systems as a group, they paid 30 percent less than they would have on their own. Now similar groups in the Toronto area – and as far away as Chicago – are showing interest as well.
“Hopefully we can get more of this happening,” says Ullrich. “Every day, when you come home and see solar panels on your roof, it’s such a real message to yourself and to your community. And it’s just a great way to solidify a commitment to something that can often be quite abstract. That’s what I really like about it.”
The CD is selling for $8.88, and comes complete with a full artwork package by environmentalist, writer, musician and photographer Ben Welland. All proceeds from the album sales will go to supporting Our Power, which is working to convince more communities to adopt the model that has been such a success for several Toronto communities.
“It s kind of a punk rock, DIY approach,” says Ullrich. “We want to try and spread the word across the country, and maybe further, about something real that s happening here in Toronto and Canada – and music’s a great way to spread the word.”
Launching a new resource for your energy conscious neighbourhood!
Our Power has been started in response to the overwhelming success of RISE – the Riverdale Initiative for Solar Energy.
RISE is a voluntary, community-based project that brought together a large number of Homeowners in the East-end neighbourhoods of Toronto interested in clean-energy grid-tied solar electricity systems for their own homes. As an informal neigbourhood buying Co-op RISE participants came together as a group to negotiate a best price from a local Solar energy supplier. The RISE initiative quickly grew in popularity and gained the attention of local and nationwide media.
There are currently other Toronto neighbourhoods launching their own community-based Solar projects.
The usefulness and utility of a website became quickly apparent. The design, goals and objectives for OurPower.ca are being worked out at this very moment.
This website provides many community resources and online discussions. Check-back often for updates