A Plan for Achieving Sustainability with Solar

The shocking increase in energy costs recently has had a serious impact on us all. At Dorje Denma Ling it has meant major increases in our operating costs for heating, hot water, and kitchen appliances. In 2022 alone, our fuel costs doubled over the previous year as a result of an 125% increase in fuel oil costs internationally.

It’s now crucial that we transform our aging energy systems for greater sustainability, in order to permanently reduce our annual energy costs, reduce system maintenance, and improve air quality inside our buildings. All this reduces our environmental and climate impacts. And this will make Denma Ling more eligible for government incentives!

It’s Time for a Cost-effective Transformation of Dorje Denma Ling to Renewable Solar Energy

With installation of solar panels, we can meet our operating needs and, for now at least, we’ll maintain the security of the grid connection. Simply installing solar, however, does not include the largest annual operational energy costs – the oil-fired heating systems! A cost effective and complete energy transformation will include conversion of the heating system – from the fast-rising cost of oil to stable, renewable electricity generated by the solar panels.

Here’s what we propose to accomplish:

  • The estimated investment needed for this major transformation is $130,000 CAD. This will include a solar photovoltaic (PV) system and replacements for our oil-fired boilers – with a highly efficient electric boiler in the lodge and an air-to-water heat pump system in the main building. These components will be harmonized with our existing heating infrastructure and pipes, reducing our retrofit costs. Our goal is to replace aging and obsolete components as economically as possible.
  • The goal is to raise half this cost ($65,000 CAD) from this fundraising campaign. Reaching this fundraising goal will enable us to seek affordable bank financing for the other half.
  • With authorization from Efficiency Nova Scotia, bank financing at favourable interest rates will be paid off primarily from the energy cost savings each year, once the system is transformed. The future savings and sustainability will be significant.

An Update after Hurricane Fiona

The storm provided important additional experience and made it clear to solar installers that we must now install stronger platforms for the solar array than previously planned. Our project manager, John Odenthal, has been actively seeking the most cost-efficient retrofit for DDL, including the additional costs of stronger solar platforms. These costs are not expected to be large and would safeguard our investment.

A December Update

Nova Scotia governmental authorities have confirmed that as a non-profit, Dorje Denma Ling is eligible for full net-metering for our expanded renewable electricity system. This confirmation again supports the importance of moving forward with our plan because it will be economically as well as environmentally sustainable.

Proposed Budget (December 2022)

Description of Solar Components

90 Solar Panels with mounting, inverter, cables, wiring, installation fees $99,382.00
15% HST $14,907.30
Subtotal to Solar Contractor $114,289.30
Rebate from Efficiency Nova Scotia ($15,000.00)

Additional Updates Required

Electric boiler – replacement of oil-fired boiler in Gyatso Lodge  $9,975.00
Air to water heat pump with retrofitting for main building  $18,975.00
Other retrofitting required to meet electrical requirements  $2,500.00

Total Proposed Cost of Project


Inevitably there will be additional costs that are unknown at this time. Still the above costs represent a reasonable estimation of what it will cost to replace what we have with more efficient systems. Following the major storm that Nova Scotia experienced in September, 2022, there will now be additional requirements to add strength and stability to the platform upon which the panels are placed.

Update on Timing of Installation and Completion

While our original timeline was to begin the installation of the project in the spring of 2023, it is now clear that more time will be required.  John Odenthal has confirmed with Nova Scotia’ governmental authorities (Efficiency Nova Scotia) that as a non-profit, Dorje Denma Ling continues to be eligible for full net-metering for our expanded renewable electricity system. With an expected two-week period for full installation of the system, we cannot begin while programs are currently in progress. For that reason, installation will begin in November, 2023. This time period also allows more time to complete our fundraising objective.

Fundraising Update as of February 1, 2023

To date, our donors have contributed $20,387 toward our fundraising objective of $65,000, half the total amount needed for the project.
Your donations are needed to help us reach our goal!