It was sunshine and better air quality that inspired Rudy and Anne Dyck to move their family from Abbotsford to Williams Lake four years ago.
“We would come camping up to this area and visit family,” Anne said during an interview at their Douglas Road home. “Our son Callum was severely sick with asthma, but when we were up here his symptoms would go away. Since we’ve moved here he has been 100 per cent better.”
The Dycks own Pro Circuit Electrical, a solar sales, service and installation company.
Rudy has been an electrician by trade for more than two decades and installing solar systems —on and off grid — for 15 years.
About five years into his profession, he studied a solar course in Victoria because he decided he wanted to give back.
“B.C. is blessed with a lot of natural resources and being in construction I see that firsthand in everything that we do, whether it’s forestry, oil and gas,” he said, noting he also subcontracts for B.C., Alberta and Manitoba hydro, flying into different areas.
The Dycks have installed solar panels on both homes that they’ve lived in while in Williams Lake. Two years ago they purchased their home and property on Douglas Road and just last month installed a 10-kilowatt solar system on the roof of the house.
The solar system went into effect on March 11 and by the end of the month it had generated more than 800 kilowatts of power.
“We use about 25 kilowatts a day, and we are a family of five, but we do heat with wood,” Anne said. “We are generating more power than we are using.”
Opening up her cell phone she brought up an app that shows how much energy is being made each day.
One day they generated 75 kilowatts and used 25, which means BC Hydro buys back 50 kilowatts from them that day.
“Even on cloudy and overcast days we still generate more than we use,” Rudy explained.
So far, Rudy has installed solar panels on five other homes in the Cariboo — one in Lac La Hache and four in Williams Lake.
“Mark Denny from Cariboo Saddlery is very pleased with his 5kWh system at his home,” Rudy said, as he explained that solar systems work best with south facing exposure and that the angle of a roof can have an impact.
Once he designs a system for a customer, an application goes into BC Hydro for approval and he has yet to see anybody denied.
“We have found Williams Lake a great place for solar with the blue skies and favourable temperatures,” Rudy said, noting the financial payback varies with weather, but the karma pay back is immediate.
Rudy said he gave up a good business in Abbotsford, but the family’s lifestyle in the Cariboo has been worth making the change.
The children have all become avid horseback riders, and spend lots of time learning from Lori Rankin at the Eagle View Equestrian Centre.
They have horses, bees and chickens and because the three children are home-schooled, they are all busy helping monitor electricity usage and even helped install the solar system on the roof.
Homeschooling also affords the family the ability to pursue helping orphans in Guatemala.
For three years they have been going down and working alongside Story International, an organization based in the U.S. that has been involved in Huehuetenango, Guatemala for many years.
Story International is involved in various areas from helping orphans, widows, rehabilitation and operating an English teaching school.
“A year ago, 41 girls died in an institutional-style orphanage,” Anne said. “Requirements have changed since, and orphanages can be farm-based now. So Story International decided to provide an orphanage that was less institutional and more farm-style.”
While B.C. is their home, Guatemala is where there passion lies, Rudy added.