The property is perfect. A peaceful slice of waterfront on a small lake, with woods all around, and it’s even in your price range. There’s just one problem: the nearest hydro line is miles away, and bringing in power will cost a fortune.
No problem, says Francois Byrne, owner of Hybrid Power Solutions. With a combination of solar panels and battery backup systems, any property can be fully powered – and often at a far lower cost than it would take to bring hydro to the site.
“Fifty to sixty percent of our projects are on off-grid sites,” he says. “You can enjoy all the luxuries of being at the cottage, even if you’re on a remote lake or in the middle of the woods.”
And, he adds, off-grid properties are typically much less expensive than comparable places on the hydro grid. “You can have the property you want, the cottage lifestyle you want, and do it all for less money.”
One of Hybrid Power’s recent projects is at Fort Treehouse, a suite of luxurious rental treehouses in the woods of Haliburton. “They are completely off grid,” Francois says. “Their clientele come for the experience of staying in a treehouse, but they want it to be silent – just the birds and the breeze in the trees. Running a generator would completely shatter that vibe. But panels and batteries are perfect.”
While solar panels are often mounted on the roof of the building, that isn’t feasible when the structure is in the woods. Treehouses, by definition, are in trees, so the solution is to mount the panels on poles which can be located anywhere there’s full sun.
And what if it’s cloudy, or after dark? That’s where the battery systems come into play.
“We build a full range of battery backup systems, from small, portable units that are designed to be transported to a jobsite or bush camp, all the way up to whole-house systems that can cover all your power needs for days on end.”
Of course, you don’t need to be off grid to enjoy the benefits of solar panels and battery systems. Solar panels can be linked to the power grid, significantly reducing – or even eliminating – the cost of hydro. There are even grants covering up to $5,000 of the cost of installation.
And, Francois adds, “Many of our clients install battery systems instead of a generator. It’s silent, it’s maintenance free, and it’s always ready.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS DANIELLE MEREDITH