At Burst, we pride ourselves in our partnerships with like-minded organizations. Working toward a greener, healthier Alberta is what we aim for by using forward thinking philosophies and supporting other organizations in their mission to do the same. AGSS is one such Alberta based company that is making solar energy generation available to people across Alberta, and facilitating change one sunny day at a time.
Devon Lybbert is the founder and President of Affordable Green Sun Solar, and a licensed Professional Engineer by trade. In 2014, Devon was designing drilling rigs for the Alberta oil patch when he decided that it was time to change his engineering focus to more progressive and sustainable forms of energy. Along with his friend Kenny James, an expert in all things oil, they drafted a plan for their bold entry into the green energy world and AGSS was born.
Today, AGSS provides end-to-end service in the area of solar energy generation, from design to installation and even financing! Serving residential, agricultural, and commercial customers, AGSS makes the solar panel installation stress free with their full service solutions. “Many municipalities are now requiring signed permits, which as a Professional Engineer I can provide. We have in-house design capabilities and personally train all of our installers. It gives us a leg up on the competition,” he says. As if that wasn’t enough, their affiliation with the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) and the Solar Energy Society of Alberta lends further recognition of the company’s high standards of practise.
These days, even recreational vehicles are being outfitted with solar panels, which translates to steady work for Devon’s 26 salesmen and installation experts. AGSS operates all over Alberta, with highest demand for their services in the area of Lac La Biche and north.
Anyone can achieve benefit from solar energy generation, but those whose host structure offer an uncomplicated roof structure will find the most potential for gain. “Structures with numerous peaks and crannies provide a challenge for solar installers,” he says. Residential investment generally hovers around the 15 thousand dollar mark if you want to offset your utility bill completely, with commercial varying greatly.
So what is the term of the investment? Generally, it will take about 12 years to recover your investment, but there are other items to consider. “The panels are an asset to your home,” Devon remarks. Once the panels are installed and wired into your home’s electrical system, they become a significant feature of your home and add to the home’s equity. The lifespan of solar panels is not yet fully understood, because it is still a newer technology. Don’t let that fool you, though, because these panels are warrantied for 25 years, and are expected to last no less than 30! What’s more – they’re basically maintenance free! Shower your panels with a garden hose one or twice a year, and enjoy the benefits of solar for years to come.
What about Alberta’s winter climate? AGSS has you covered. With winter months in Alberta seeing significantly less daylight than in summer months, only about ¼ of the generation can occur. AGSS offers credits for your solar generation through the summer months, to be used in carrying you through winter without relying solely on traditional power sources. AGSS panels run slightly warm; warm enough to keep your panels clear of snow and ice and keep maintenance requirements at a minimum.
What’s next for this new green energy player? “Once carbon tax details are defined, we will know more”, says Devon, “at this point we expect to see the increased cost of diesel generators, frequently used in remote areas up north, to increase by 4%. That’s a lot for a company to absorb”.
“Alberta still has a long way to go,” Devon admits. With Alberta’s energy grid capacity for solar energy at around 10%, the potential for growth from the current 2% mark is impressive. Devon and his team work constantly to develop new ways for solar to meet its potential in the utility market. With upcoming changes in January 2017, AGSS may find themselves busier than ever. And when that happens? “We’ll be ready,” he says.