Editor's Musings

Solar Panels - If you read this column very often, you may have noticed that I comment on the solar panels on the roof of my house occasionally. 100% of the energy produced goes into the grid at 38.4 cents per kW and I buy it back at the same prices as you.

Since I get paid by how much the sun shines, it is interesting to see a comparison from one year to another. So since the panels began producing energy on May 3rd, 2016, we have had them for four Decembers now.

At the start of 2017, I received $34.56 for Dec/2016.

In 2018, I received $32.36 for December 2017.

In 2019, I received $76.42 for December 2018

In 2020, I received $79.87 for December 2019.

But for complete years, 12 months, in

              2017, my revenue was $4,092.28.

              2018, my revenue was $4,210.02

              2019, my revenue was $3,921.08.

The return on my $30,000 investment has been 2017 - 13.64%, 2018 - 14.03% and 2019 - 13..03% and it will be paid off in approximately 7 1/2 years.

The return on my investment might look attractive but at the end of 20 years, do I have an asset - 38 panels and an inverter - or do I have a liability.

Another observation, based on our production, we need nine to twenty times the number of solar panels in December as we do in June, July and August.

In a 2019 study - the average variable cost of electricity in Canada is $0.184 per kWh. Variable costs include not just energy costs, but also transmission, distribution, and other fees when these fees are connected to energy usage. If you exclude the territories from these numbers, the average variable cost decreases to $0.114 per kWh.

The 2018 ‘Average Weighted Wholesale Market Price’ was 2.43¢ so if I was to get that amount, my December payout would have been $5.05. My yearly revenue would be around $250. The return on my money would be less than 1% or precisely .833%. It would take 120 years to pay for the panels.

But I still have approximately 16 years left on the contract. Maybe then, if I can be optimistic, the grid will be buying hydro for 10 cents. My yearly revenue would be just over $1000. Come 2036, I would not be surprised to see us paying over $1000 a month for electricity in our homes. But then, I’ll be 89 years old then. I think it is a little early to worry about it.


If you never thought to hold on to your old-school discontinued two-dollar bills, prepare to kick yourself, because the one you used to buy a pack of gum could now be worth $20,000 — if someone is willing to pay, that is. The fact is, a few of these valuable bills can still be found! Why are they so valuable? They bear the signatures of the wrong officials! Only the 1986-series bill with an AUH-prefix on the seven-digit serial number below the bill’s pic is worth the whopping 20 grand. One of the five still remaining was for sale at an auction in Toronto in 2012 with $20,000 as the starting price.

Go to this website to get the value of other coins/bills.


The last year they made 50 cent pieces, we were at the mint and I bought a roll (20 coins) at face value. At this site there were various prices ($7to $400) for 1990s. They are uncirculated and still in the paper roll. Must get them valued.


As I see this teacher thing, a lot of people are not getting the whole picture so making assessments with the limited knowledge they have heard or been given or have researched.

One of them is about MPPs where there are quotes about their raises and pensions.

MPPs have not had a raise in almost 12 years but they do make $116,550. Back in 2006, Ontario salaries were fixed at 75% of the salary of federal MPs. It was determined that the Queens Park politicians would get a raise each time the MPs in Ottawa did. Had they followed that menta, they would now be receiving $127,800 but because of the deficits, we have had MPPs leading by example.

There were raises ($16,300 on top of their MPP salary) given to 31 parliamentary assistants who now make $133,216. There were 18 assistants in 2006. When the Liberals left office, there were 23.

Also, the number of cabinet ministers ($165,850) increased from 21 to 28.

If these increases cost the budget $1,000,000 a year,  I read that each day the teachers strike, it saves our government $49 million.

Pensions - Ontario MPPs have not had a pension since Mike Harris eliminated them almost 25 yeas ago.

Another point that never seems to make it to the public is the teacher’s pay scale.

Have you ever scratched your head at how a teacher could start at $44,662 and 10 years later, be making approximately $90,000, the teacher’s average?

To the right of this column is the Toronto District School Board’s pay grid as of August 31st, 2019. According to their education level, teachers are rated by Categories, anywhere from A to A4.

If you and me were classified as a CategoryA teacher and just started September 2018, in September 2019, we would be making $2354 or 5% more just for having the experience along with the 1 or 2% that they are also striking for.

If we work at a factory for six months, as long as I am on the assembly line with anyone that has been there for 30 years, it is mandated that we are both paid the same amount.

In the work force, there has been the suggestion that fair and equitable meant equal pay for work of equal value.

One day, I am a feared that teacher’s are going to awake to the fact that although one is a Category A teacher and has taught for one year makes $47,016 while that 35 year old rated Category A4 who may have taken more courses and taught for 15 years makes $100,000  but teaches the same classes and has the same (or fewer) number of students...that’s not equal pay for work of equal value!

When this thing goes to court and the board loses, there will not be a drop in pay for those at the top to make a medium average, everyone’s pay will move to the top. How are we going to afford that?

Maybe this has already been mediated and settled but is it writ in stone?

What about what appears to be bloated board offices?

Why does each board need directors or superintendents of the same things as other boards have?

Do some cuts in there!!