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Québec must no longer go without of solar energy

Solar energy could be stored for use during peak consumption periods in winter, in addition to hydroelectricity and wind. (Archive photo)

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Nergica, the research center applied by Gaspé, notes that Quebec can no longer afford to do without solar energy as an energy source, given the drop in electricity surpluses expected over the coming years.

In addition to having better potential than Germany, Quebec winters would not be a major obstacle to its development.

The Montreal's energy potential is greater than the energy potential of Germany. While in Germany, we have around 66 gigawatts of solar energy, in Quebec, we are very, very far away, with around 17 megawatts, says Karim Belmokhtar, scientific head of research and innovation at Nergica. p>

Until recently, the strong presence in Quebec of hydroelectricity, which provides a stable, carbon-neutral and inexpensive source of energy to consumers, did not make solar interesting, but the situation has changed, according to Mr. Belmokhtar.

With the surpluses which will disappear by 2026-2027 and beyond, we no longer have the luxury of saying: "We have hydroelectricity, we are not going to consider solar".

A quote from Karim Belmokhtar, scientific leader of research and innovation at Nergica

When he built his house 10 years ago, Marc Legris, a resident of Gaspé, could have connected to the Hydro-Québec network. The bill was $40,000 just for the connection.

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Marc Legris, a resident of Gaspé, decided to turn to solar energy with 20 panels to supply electricity to your home.

Solar energy quickly became the best option. He says his 20 panels provide him with plenty of electricity. With that, I am completely autonomous […] Television, sound system, Bell ExpressVu, my fridge, lights, a microwave, lists Mr. Legris.

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Mr. Legris is not bothered by Hydro-Québec bills. From the moment I purchased [the solar panels], I have no bill and the panels are paid for.

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Marc Legris himself installed the solar panels acquired at a cost of $20,000.

His panels cost him $20,000 and he says he made a return on his investment by installing them himself.

Contrary to what one might believe, Nordic countries like Canada do not offer less performance due to the cold. According to research carried out by Nergica, photovoltaic solar panels are even more efficient in cold weather.

Cold weather, the so-called wind chill effect, increases the efficiency of solar panels, explains Belmokhtar.

Research shows that the performance of a solar panel in Montreal or in Quebec is better than the performance of a solar panel in Africa.

A quote from Karim Belmokhtar, scientific head of research and innovation at Nergica

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Karim Belmokhtar is scientific head of research and innovation at the Nergica applied research center, in Gaspé. (File photo)

Roughly 75% to 80% of the solar radiation that is captured is lost as heat. So, the more the solar panel heats up, the more its efficiency drops, he explains.

The main issue in making solar panels more widely available, however, remains the purchase and installation costs. According to a study carried out by the federal research center CanmetENERGY, it would take an average of 19 years to pay off the purchase of solar panels.

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