By Taylor McClure
Special to The Record
The use of solar heat as a source of renewable energy is not unheard of in Quebec and this is due to various pioneers in the industry dating back to the 1970s, including a man named Nick Nicholson from Ayer’s Cliff.
After moving from Long Island to Ayer’s Cliff at the end of the 60s, Nicholson noticed that he had hot water in a shower that he had built outside his home, but this shower was not connected to a hot water heater. Rather, the pipe that brought water to his shower was aboveground and the sun was warming it. As a trained landscape architect, Nicholson quickly became interested in solar energy and his grassroots projects put Quebec and the Eastern Townships on the map for developing the use of solar energy in Canada.
Not long after Nicholson discovered that the heat from the sun was warming up the water that travelled to his shower, he worked with a friend on a solar herb dehydrator. When they went to check the temperature in the heater, the thermometer broke. They thought that it was something to do with the thermometer, but the second one also broke, leading Nicholson to understand the power of solar energy.