A sure sign that wind, solar have gone mainstream
I was searching on Canadian Tire’s Web site tonight and realized that wind and solar products have gone mainstream. If you’re not Canadian and therefore not familiar with Canadian Tire, it should be said that this retail chain — a kind of Wal-Mart/Home Depot combo with a big automotive department — is about as Canadian as hockey and Tim Horton’s. And tonight I noticed that the store is Southwest Windpower small wind turbines (Whisper 100 and AirX 400W) and Sharp solar panels. Not only that, but the wind turbines are a featured item on the retailer’s Web site, which has a “Solar Power and Alternative Energy” section.
This is a big deal if you ask me. Canadian Tire wouldn’t be doing it if it didn’t sense the demand, and given the chain’s popularity in non-urban markets I expect there are many rural and small town customers encouraged to see such a credible retailer enter the alternative energy market. Who’s next? Wal-Mart? Home Depot? I wouldn’t be surprised…
UPDATE: The Canadian Wind Energy Association released a report on May 31 “designed to facilitate the installation of small wind turbines across Canada.” As small wind becomes more popular, the association says businesses and homeowners are increasingly looking for guidance on how to install small turbines, while municipalities are looking for help when it comes to crafting bylaws.