There are few certainties in cottaging, but one thing comes close: at some point, the power will go out.
Hydro lines run for thousands of kilometres through Muskoka’s thick forests and rough terrain. Storms – whether fierce summer thunderstorms or heavy winter snowfalls – always bring down some of those trees, taking lines with them.
The obvious solution is to have power available on-site. The not-so-obvious solution is to have it available in a silent, non-polluting battery backup system.
“With a battery system, the power is always available whenever you need it,” says Francois Byrne, owner of Hybrid Power Solutions. “There’s no need to start a generator – or to listen to it roar while it’s running. There’s no refueling, and no maintenance.”
Hybrid Power Solutions manufactures backup systems at their own facility in Ontario, using Canadian components. Their systems range from portable units that are perfect for construction sites or hunt camps, up to permanent installations that can power an entire home or cottage.
“We can size the system to suit each client’s needs,” says Francois, an engineer who has been working with energy generation and storage systems since he was still in university.
Some owners want a backup system that will run the home seamlessly, large enough to power air conditioners, water heaters and hot tubs regardless of whether the hydro lines are operational or not. Others are just looking for a backup system that will keep the water pump running in summer and the heat on when the power goes out in winter.
“Whether you’re at the cottage or not, the system will provide power. Even if all you need is to keep the water pipes from freezing.”
Once the hydro is restored, the battery will recharge automatically.
An even better solution is to couple a battery backup with solar panels, which Hybrid Power also supplies and installs. “Not only do you have backup power, you also have free power,” says Francois.
The solar panels have a lifespan of at least 20 years. At current hydro rates, they will be paid for in seven to 12 years, meaning that homeowners will enjoy a decade or more of free electricity.
“If you’re on the hydro grid, then any surplus power you generate is simply sold back to the utility. In effect, on a bright sunny day you’re running your meter backward.”
“You get reliable power and save money at the same time.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON