Recently the company installed solar panels for the First United Church

Joost de Bruijn on the roof of First United
Joost de Bruijn on the roof of First United

Article of Cameron Thomson in the Salmon Arm Observer of June 29, 2019

A new company in Salmon Arm is helping residents reduce their carbon footprint by installing solar panels and providing other solar power related services.

Joost de Bruijn, founder of A+ Solar Solutions, went into business in September 2018. His company provides site surveys, independent advice, designs, sales and project management as well as installation of solar systems to the Shuswap.

De Bruijn is originally from Holland, there he received his masters in building engineering at the University of Technology in Eindhoven in 1989. He visited Canada for the first time in 1994 and knew he had to come back.

“The moment I flew over Canada I fell in love with Canada and it never left, so in 1997 I finally decided to move over to Canada and I lived in Vancouver. Unfortunately, I had to go back to Holland for a few years but I always said, ‘I’m going back to Canada.”

During another visit to Canada in 2015, de Bruijn went on a camping trip with his mother to Trout Lake where he met his wife. Soon after he came back to Canada for good and settled in Salmon Arm. After coming to Salmon Arm he noticed that, not only were his surroundings different, but the prominence of solar power was as well.

“I noticed you don’t see a lot of solar over here and in Europe it is quite common, so I started looking into it,” de Bruijn said. “In Europe energy is very expensive, it’s three times more expensive than in B.C. so that was the real trigger for me and people are becoming more and more aware from climate change.”

De Bruijn also lent his building engineer expertise to the construction of the indoor tennis courts at the Salmon Arm Tennis Club and, through connections, made his company is experiencing a healthy amount of interest.

The Askew Tennis Centre Salmon Arm

“Now after a couple months a lot of people are interested or making a lot of proposals and that’s kind of nice,” de Bruijn said.

In April 2017, he attended a climate change forum held in Salmon Arm. This event introduced de Bruijn to like minded individuals who shared his passion for solar energy. This led to the creation of the Shuswap Solar Energy Society, which was founded the same year. On January 24, 2018, the first General Meeting was held, and de Bruijn was elected to the Board of Directors.

“I am very focused on renewable energy and we do see everywhere in the world that the climate is changing and we have to act right now,” he said. “The climate is not waiting for us so we have to change our behaviour.”

Last Saturday, June 22, 2019, A+ Solar Solutions installed Salmon Arm’s first community-owned solar array on the east-facing roof of the First United Church.

A+ Solar Solutions installed 30 High-Efficiency 400 Wp LG NeON® 2 72-cell modules combined with state of the art Enphase IQ7+ micro-inverters, which will cover 38% of the First United Church’s average annual electricity consumption.

A+ Solar Solutions installation First United Church Salmon Arm

The project is a joined effort between the Shuswap Solar Energy Society and First United and made possible by generous donations and debentures of local supporters of solar energy.

The project will be called the ‘Hugh Tyson Community Solar Array’, honouring the memory of one of the Society’s Directors, who died a year ago.

A+ Solar Solutions installation First United Church Salmon Arm

C.B. Electric will be connecting the array to the grid this week, so First United can start harvesting their free solar energy early next week.

A+ Solar Solutions installation First United Church Salmon Arm

For more information, call/text +1 (250) 515 6311

The first community-owned solar array in Salmon Arm will be built on the east-facing roof of First United Church, also known as Nexus at First.

Growing public concern about climate change and support for clean energy solutions has led to $31,300 being raised in a short time to fund the Shuswap Solar Energy Society’s long-planned community solar array.

The project is being called the ‘Hugh Tyson Community Solar Array’, honouring the memory of one of the Society’s Directors who died a year ago.

The Solar Array is a partnership between the Shuswap Solar Energy Society and First United Church and will be built on the east-facing roof of First United Church. It is expected to provide the church with about 35% of its electricity needs.

Debenture holders will receive an annual return-f-capital payment from the electricity cost savings offset by the solar array. They expect the debentures to be paid off by 2025 or earlier.

The Solar Array is a true community project in that 32 persons have given generously through debenture purchases or donations to help fund it. Having achieved our target, we are ending our fund-raising campaign with thanks.

The Solar Array will be built in mid-June by A+ Solar Solutions