Conserval Engineering Inc.

May 25, 2006 13:15 ET

Solar freeze akin to shutting hospitals while debating healthcare

As federal government ponders slashing grants, Canadian inventor breaks 20-year silence Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO/MEDIA ADVISORY--(CCNMatthews - May 25, 2006) - John Hollick, founder of a Toronto company that sells solar heating systems worldwide, has reacted indignantly to reports concerning the Federal government's REDI (Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative) program that helps Canadian companies buy solar energy products. Reports carried in Canadian newspapers last week indicated that the current suspension of Federal programs would continue until the government decided whether to confirm, reduce or eliminate such grants.
Hollick is the inventor of SolarWall, the world sales leader for solar heating systems for buildings and a member of the International Energy Agency (Solar Heating Program). In response to the current controversy re government grants, he spoke out for the first time:
"For 20-plus years I've been happy to create and make solar products - and otherwise keep a low profile. However, reports that the government planned to shut down proven programs, while they conduct a process of deciding whether or not future government contributions are warranted, is, he said, "akin to shutting down hospitals while debating the future of healthcare."
Mr. Hollick believes that placing the REDI program in limbo will have "a devastating effect on the country's solar energy industry." Until they know whether future government support will be given a needed boost, left as is, or guillotined... at some undefined future date" says Hollick, "it's perfectly obvious that no Canadian company will buy a solar product. That is why my industry colleagues and I predict that until our government makes up its mind, the Canadian market for solar renewables will go into a tailspin."
Notwithstanding his sombre home field assessment, Mr. Hollick claims that SolarWall's worldwide sales "will continue to hum along in 2006 - at roughly double last year's rate". He credits this buoyancy to "the Americans and European countries, whose various governments - mostly state legislatures and the Armed Forces in the U.S. and European Union programs in Europe - are encouraging solar solutions as a cost-effective means of reducing fossil fuel emissions. Laments Mr. Hollick: "Would be that our government would latch onto that kind of thinking!"
"What makes matters even more frustrating, added Mr. Hollick, is that political assistance for Western 'clean' coal (is there really any such thing?), the Athabaska Tar Sands and natural gas interests proceeds unabated. Each of these fuels pollutes the air - in massive amounts - while solar energy is pure.
"I realize that it may be good politics in a province where bitumen-density crude oil can be thinned out and coaxed into pipeline flow via the heat of copious quantities of abundant natural gas. However, the principal result of these actions is the release into the atmosphere of huge quantities of pollutants. In a massive departure from the rest of the world, the Alberta government awards grants, not for solar heating but to help boost natural gas sales - and pollution.
"The horrific result: According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the Tar Sands contribute 60 megatons of CO2 into Canadian skies annually - ironically enough, an amount that matches exactly Canada's shortfall for meeting its Kyoto target."
"Elsewhere in the world, from the United States (which offers a 30 percent tax credit federally plus various State incentives) and throughout Europe, governments help eco-friendly companies like ours" noted Mr. Hollick. "Perhaps Environment Minister Ambrose should reconsider her (at best unfortunate) statement that meeting the Kyoto target would "entail grounding every plane, train and automobile in Canada!"
"Finally", Hollick asks: I would like to answer a basic question: namely why should governments use public money to coax companies into 'going solar'?
Over the long run, SolarWall, for instance, reduces heating costs, improves the air breathed by its staff and customers, and costs next to nothing to run. However, there's no doubt that many spending decisions make a larger immediate contribution to the bottom line than do so-called "virtuous" products - and, typically, managements are relentlessly judged by the current financial statement. Slot in a government grant… and hey presto, instant bottom line! Chairmen, shareholders and Bay Street are all smiles.

SolarWall website address:

Media Contact
Victoria Hollick
Conserval Engineering Inc.
200 Wildcat Road
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M3J 2N5
Tel. (416) 661-7057 ex. 224


Contact Information

  • Victoria Hollick, Conserval Engineering Inc.
    Primary Phone: 416-661-7057 ext. 224