Trung Nguyen, a Montreal resident,
Trung Nguyen, a Montreal, QC resident points at his custom rooftop solar panels.

Trung Nguyen, a resident of Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough, has designed an innovative solution to curtail hydro consumption resulting from the use of air conditioners, fans, and heat pumps.

During peak summer days, Nguyen’s ground-breaking hybrid solar system generates significant energy savings, ensuring his home remains pleasantly cool.

Unlike conventional appliances that depend on hydroelectric power, Nguyen’s system heralds a significant change.

In his words, “The solar panel cable extends up and around, leading to the solar panels on the roof. The electrical cable enters the house and connects to your typical electrical distribution panel.”

A Unique, Battery-Free Approach

In layman’s terms, Nguyen’s system doesn’t incorporate a battery. Instead, the energy produced directly powers the air conditioner.

He detailed, “If there’s energy from the solar panel, the system switches to it. When the panel doesn’t generate energy, it reverts to hydro Quebec automatically.”

During an average summer day, the solar panels can even produce more power than required. Nguyen, an electrical engineer by profession, meticulously tracks his system’s performance.

He was driven to demonstrate the practical use of solar power in Quebec, specifically for residential application.

Local Success Inspires Larger Implementation

Motivated by Nguyen’s achievement, the Saint-Laurent borough hall has adopted an upscaled version of his solar panel system.

Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa underscored the environmental advantages, stating, “This building was heated by heating oil, which emits a significant amount of greenhouse gases. We decided to transition to electricity and other renewable energy forms to diminish our carbon emissions.”

While the solar panels presently function as an additional power source, the mayor noted that the borough is already noticing economic benefits.

DeSousa projected a payback period of roughly five to six years for the initial outlay.

Tangible Benefits and Future Plans

Nguyen disclosed that his system had a total cost of $8,000. Impressively, he managed to save $800 on his hydro bill within the first nine months of operation.

He is enthusiastic about introducing his invention to a wider audience and hopes the provincial government will take note.

Nguyen expressed concerns over the government’s intention to invest billions in dam construction for augmented electrical production, highlighting the substantial financial implications.

“In Quebec, they’re planning to increase electrical production,” he said. “Now, as an electrical engineer, I know constructing a dam costs, say, $10 billion? That’s a significant sum.”

Nguyen’s hybrid solar system demonstrates the potential of renewable energy on a residential scale, presenting a cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative.

As his innovative solution gains recognition, it becomes a source of inspiration for those aiming to reduce their energy consumption and lessen their carbon footprint.

Sofia Martimianakis
Sofia is a writer who has public sector and renewable energy industry experience. She holds an HBA from the University of Toronto and an MA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo.

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    1. I sorry and do not mean to sound dismissive, but what is the news here. This sounds like hundreds of thousands of our residential PV systems in N America. This is NOT news and (as described) is NOT “innovative”. $100/mo savings is fine but not great. $8000 installed cost for DIY, OK. Why is this even an article in a PV dedicated news feed?

      1. Hi Donald,

        Thank you for your feedback. One of the great aspects of this hybrid system is that it inspired positive change in this resident’s community. A municipal building followed suit and adopted his design. In order for Canada to meet its net-zero goal, we’ll need a larger uptake for residential solar and stories like this one can help spread the word about what’s possible to a larger audience.

    2. Yes it’s innovative because he’s probably one of the few in Saint Laurent to do DIY self-consumption whereas that is illegal in most of Canada, for instance in Ontario you need a permit and many places do not allow net metering anymore because the grid has reached capacity, and even those that do allow it now there’s an 8-month delay in paying out the rebates (which is why Neutopia ecoSolutions has its own same day funding program now) This article may seem a bit misleading because of the words innovative hybrid solar but that’s essentially what we’ve been doing for decades using a combo of solar, wind, generators, and most important of all Neutopia ERS boxes that were the central focal point of the 4-year study on creating Smart Hybrid micro and nano and pico Grids across Canada, where hundreds of thousands of pages of data were collected to prove every home and business and entire communities could cut their energy costs in half with properly designed ERS systems. This info was presented on stage (along with Hydro Quebec applauding the massive effort) back in 2012 and was presented to a huge audience in Thunder Bay back in 2011, where the ministers and MPs took photos to show their support but left before the actual presentations. At this point I’m rambling but basically wanted to point out that a DIY solar can have a HUGE impact when the right leadership is present. On the flip side are people like us who’ve been teaching owners of homes and businesses how to get to zero energy bills for almost 2 decades. No forestry or mining company should be paying ANY energy bills, no FARM should have any bills for electricity or even for heating and drying grain, our country is poorly educated and yet surrounded by extreme innovation. How much money would it cost to write an article about some of our projects where clients use a combo of technologies with ERS boxes to cut their heating and cooling and hot water and entire electrical and gas bills to zero? We have a video online to show its all for real, and it’s truly inspiring to see how Neutopia is behind Canadas most progressive and life-changing energy programs. Congrats to the gentleman in St Laurent for inspiring his councillors. Thanks to Hydro Quebec he can do that. Unfortunately it’s illegal in many parts of Ontario now (but we are active every day on projects where it’s still possible).

      1. Thank you very much for your feedback! I appreciate your insights and welcome you to check out the follow-up to this article that includes some of this dialogue,

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