Local businessman Thad Mertick began selling solar panels out of his local store last fall and says the response from locals has been good

Freenergy owner says Golden’s solar response has been encouraging

There’s no renewable energy source quite like our sun and more and more Goldenites are beginning to take notice and buy into solar energy.

There’s no renewable energy source quite like our sun and more and more Goldenites are beginning to take notice and buy into solar energy.

Local businessman Thad Mertick, owner of Freenergy, realized a long-time project of his when he began selling solar panels last fall out of his store on Highway 1. The response he’s received since that time has been encouraging.

“There’s been a great response, there’s been a number of littler systems that have gone out with just a couple of panels…we (also) have about five systems that are off-grid systems that we are now going out and sizing,” Mertick said.

Even the purchase and installation of a single panel can be beneficial. Firstly, it can reduce your hydro bill, and secondly, it can help you do your part for the environment.

And for locals who might live outside of town in especially remote areas, solar energy is often the clear cost effective solution to rising energy costs.

“There’s a couple of people that are completely off the grid and in order for them to even have power they’d have to put in a power line into their home. The cost of putting in a power line is quite enormous and takes a really long time, so that becomes no longer a good answer,” Mertick explained.

Mertick has been learning more and more about solar energy over the past several months and has recently completed his certification from Solar Energy International, meaning he’s now qualified to size solar and energy alternatives based on a resident’s power consumption.

It’s clear that solar energy is an intensely strong passion for Mertick.

“I’m in the process of becoming a part of the B.C. solar community…and becoming an advocate for Golden, which means on a monthly or semi-annual basis, providing seminars, providing courses, and training and educating people about solar,” Mertick explained.

While it is hard to break with traditional energy methods, Mertick stressed that the idea of solar energy shouldn’t sound futuristic anymore.

“As much as (people) are excited about it and it sounds interesting, it sounds futuristic to some people, which can scare people. Education is really one of the areas that I’m going to be breaking into and providing.”

A switch to solar energy also doesn’t have to be a major, life-altering decision, explains Mertick.

“This isn’t something that you have to change your entire life for. You don’t have to start eating granola in order to do this,” he joked.

“You don’t have to change over all of the equipment that’s in your home and  things like that. Once they get educated on its potential…then this market becomes a lot easier because people really realize that solar has the lowest carbon footprint, is the easiest source of power for renewable energy that the world has access to and it’s actually a really simple system. It’s a simple technology.”