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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Green energy ideas spark plenty of interest

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Green energy ideas spark plenty of interest

Adaptation: Environmentalism good fit with rural lifestyle
Last Updated: September 23, 2010 9:52am

ST. THOMAS — A bad joke gone good — solar flashlights. Seriously.
With just a four-hour charge during daylight hours, the specifications say, its seven LED bulbs can pump out light continuously for up to eight hours.
These gadgets, for sale at a North American Solar Solutions booth, have illuminated a key trend in vendors at this year’s International Plowing Match in Elgin County: alternative energy.
By far the most numerous single­-themed displays at the giant agricultural fair have been those promoting environmentalism as a life choice, a career or an income supplement.
They include a gearless wind turbine for house or barn rooftops, battery-powered lawn­mowers, geothermal heating systems, wood-gasification boilers and pellet-powered furnaces.
There’s even a pellet-powered barbecue.
Solar companies here number at least a dozen, and public interest in them has been boosted by a provincial plan that guarantees a premium rate of return for those who hook into the energy grid.
It’s meant booming business for young companies such as Solar Solutions (nasolarsolutions.com).
“It’s big, it’s big,” said Raquel Mooner, of interest in the products of the company, which her son opened a year ago.
The flashlights are a sideline of the business, which focuses on heating water in homes and cottages with solar tubes.
Moonen said the systems are cost-efficient and flexible enough to be used anywhere.
Whether for profit or for pleasure, the green spirit energized visitors to the IPM.
Brent Gordon of Dragon Ebikes (dragonebikes.com) said the electric bicycles, scooters and trikes have been objects of keen interest.
“This industry has turned from a fad to a trend,” he said.
He noted e-bike users don’t need driver’s licences. The bikes weigh less than 120 kilograms and can travel at a maximum speed of 32 kilometres an hour. A cyclist can travel about 10 hours on a single battery charge, which costs pennies.
He said the e-bike movement is growing around the world, with a huge market and widespread acceptance in developing countries. Canada is lagging well behind other nations but there’s increasing support here, Gordon said.
“Is the environment not what everyone is trending toward? Green, green, green.”
E-mail deb.vanbrenk@sunmedia.ca, or follow Debatlfpress on Twitter.

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