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.”

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