This is some of the most common questions prospective customers have. We break in to three parts - Programs, Solar and iSolara.
FAQ - Programs
Is there Government Incentives for Solar?
Yes and No. If you are a farmer, home owner, church, hospital, school, municipality, social housing or Aboriginal community you can apply for an IESO 10 kW microFIT program (until end of 2017) and receive $0.288/kWh which is a performance based incentive. The microFIT and FIT programs are being replaced by Net Metering and because of higher electricity prices and lower cost of solar, 50% of our work in 2016 was Net Metering.
What is Net Metering?
Net Metering allows consumers to produce power up to what they use annually. In the day and in the summer they produce more power than they use. The excess power is stored on the grid as a credit and then that credit is used in the night and in the winter when days are shorter.
Will there be any Incentives for larger projects?
The Feed-In-Tariff program in Ontario is now closed to all new applications with no intention by the Minister of Energy in Ontario to re-open the program for new applications. With the higher cost of power and lower costs for solar, Net Metering has replaced this program.
FAQ - Solar
Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?
As long as solar panels are free from snow they will work in the winter. Matter of fact on a bright sunny winter day solar panels can produce as much or more power per hour than in the summer when the panels are hotter and less efficient.
When we do our calculations for solar energy we use the slope of the roof to determine how much expected loss there will be in a winter from snow loading. Consider though we produce 84% of our energy from 75% of the year in spring, summer and fall when the days are longer. The losses in winter are much less than you think given the shorter days.
What if my roof shingles need to be replaced in a few years?
The panels will shade the roof from sun damage which will extend the life of the shingles that they cover. If the roof is 15 years old or older, we will advise whether or not the shingles need to be replaced before installing the panels. We work with some very reputable roofers if you need someone reliable to do the work.
How long do Solar Panels last?
Like anything, solar panels degrade in the sun, but the panels we use degrade at only 0.3% per year. At that rate they would still produce power 300 years from now.
Solar panels have the best warranties of most products in the world with 25 year performance warranties guaranteeing 80% energy production. Panels at the Kottright Center in Toronto installed in the 70's are still producing about 90% of their original power.
FAQ - iSolara
How accurate are your revenue and energy projections?
Every year our local sunshine (solar irradiation) is within + or - 4% of previous years, that is why we have a relatively stable climate. iSolara uses some of the world's best PV tools that in turn use 30 year "Canadian Weather Year for Energy Calculation (CWEC)" data from Environment Canada. We then estimate shade and snow losses to get the final energy production number. Then based on the equipment performance we are using we can crate a n estimate that is usually very close. Every once in awhile we miss on a site but who knew they were going to cut that tree down?
What is your Warranty?
iSolara Solar Power has a two year workmanship warranty for agricultural, commercial and institutional systems and five years for residential. We will provide you warranty service on Manufacturer's defects in the first year and deduct manufacturer labour reimbursements after year one. Warranty work is not common as there is no moving parts on most of these systems but inverter's do work hard everyday of the year delivering power. Panel replacements are rare with 25 year performance warranties it is essential they are well-built to last that long. Manufacturer warranties are listed in our proposals based on the equipment to be used on-site and supplied with the final commissioning package.
Who installs your Systems?
Unlike other companies, we install our own systems with staff that we have specifically trained to provide the highest possible quality. As you can tell by the pictures on our website we are proud of our installations!