Solar Protects Against Rising Electricity Prices
Installing solar today will save your family from rising electricity costs. Home owners (especially rural) pay the highest price per kWh for electricity in Ontario. The cost of electricity has doubled in the last eight years while the cost of solar energy is at an all time low. Solar is now less expensive than any other energy source when measured in context.
This graph from the Ontario Energy Board ( OEB Historical Consumer Electricity Prices) shows Tiered Rate electricity charges have doubled from Nov. 2008 to May 2016.
Which type of solar program is right for your home depends on your objectives are:
- Making money – the IESO microFIT Program – 6kW or 10 kW
- Reducing your electrical bill – Net Metering < 10 kW
- Reducing your electrical bill – Net Metering w Back-up< 10 kW
See the table below to see which is right for you:
IESO microFIT Program
The Independent Electricity System Operator IESO microFIT program was first started in 2009 to stimulate the adoption of Green Energy in the Province of Ontario and more than 23,000 customers have, many of them home owners. The IESO offers a higher rate for power in exchange for the Green House Credits that are generated from your system to offset some of the GHG’s emitted by other electricity sources such as Natural Gas peaker plants.
- 6 kW DC Solar Electric System or less is $0.311 kWh and can generate up to $2300 a year (south facing roof at 30 degrees with no shade)
- 10 kW DC Solar Electric System or less is $0.288 kWh and can generate up to $3600 a year (south facing roof at 30 degrees with no shade)
The microFIT program offers consumers the security of knowing they have a 20 year power purchase agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) at a fair rate offering typically a 9-11% return. These returns are in line with returns on other energy assets procured by the IESO.
Note the rate is not indexed to inflation, cannot be cancelled by the IESO without compensation but can be cancelled by the consumer with 30 days notice if electricity prices rise above the rate offered by the IESO. The system could then be switched to Net Metering, by that time the system will likely be paid for by the extra revenue generated from the system.
The microFIT program requires the customer to apply to the IESO to get approval prior to starting construction and has 6 months once approved to complete the project. 2017 is the last year for the microFIT program which is being replaced by the Net Metering program.
The IESO microFIT program requires a seperate meter to measure electricity generated and back-up batteries cannot be connected directly to the solar with the microFIT program.
Financing is available for microFIT systems, consider that you will need to add a few dollars a year to insure the panels on your house and there is a cost for the second meter. Because this is an investment you can get the HST back as long as you register a business number with CRA as a sole proprietor while collecting and remitting HST once a year for energy produced. We can provide you that info because for a few minutes of work you can save thousands.
Net Metering is the production of solar electricity from your home, exporting your excess power onto the grid as a credit and using that credit later at night or in the winter.
As the de facto replacement for the microFIT program, Net Metering which was originally legislated in Ontario in 2006. The Net Metering Act (Ontario Regulation 541/05 ) states that you can produce your own energy up to but not exceeding the energy you utilize in an 11 month period or you forfeit your credit. (The act is changing in as early as July 2017 to a 12 month rolling credit.)
Net Metering is simple. We install the solar and connect the power directly into your main breaker box. When the sun is shining you use the solar power first before using power from the grid. If the solar is not bright enough you will use power both from solar and the grid. When there is more solar than load in the home you export power to the grid as a credit.
During the day you export excess power for use at night, and in the summer you export excess power for use in the winter.
Protect yourself from rising energy costs today.
Net Metering with Back-Up
If you are looking for a system that will keep your house warm and lights on during a power storm with out all the upfront costs of a large off gird system this is the program for you. Back-up batteries cannot be connected to systems installed under the IESO microFIT program.
Net Metering with Back-up is exactly the same as the Net Metering program, storing excess energy on the grid as a credit. The difference is we install a solar inverter that can be connected to Li-Ion battery such as the Tesla Powerwall 2 (available in Canada in 2017) that can be used to back-up essential loads such as furnace fans, refrigerator, smoke detectors and main home lights in the event of a power failure. With a sunny day and snow free panels, solar will run the house during the day and charge the battery providing energy for that night.
Many people think they might as well go with an off-grid system but modern homes with large energy loads require substantial inverter and battery installations at a more significant cost. Solar can likely produce the power the home needs (as long as not electrically heated) but the currently available inverters need to be ganged together with large battery banks to get the energy required to start well pumps, run electric stoves, washers, dryers, etc. for any extended period of time.
In the end, if your load is not too large (ie baseboard heating, geothermal heat pumps, …) you could have a significantly lower power bill and back-up power while having available most of the time the instantaneous power capability of the grid for running big power tools and large appliances.
iSolara Solar Power is the largest Net Meter installer in Eastern Ontario and we have a very solid process to deliver that out. We take one year of your power bills, check your hydro capacity, calculate your annual use, design a system to displace it (or as much as possible) and then provide you a proposal that details what your savings are. Once installed your power bills will be more or less under control.
If you are following the trends, Net Zero is the latest in new home design and is mandated in legislation for 2030 for all new homes built in Ontario. If done right, these are some of the lowest GHG producing homes in the world.
Net Zero homes could come in three flavours:
- Net Zero Energy
- Net Zero Electric
- Net Zero Carbon
Net Zero Energy
iSolara has worked with Minto to install solar on 5 Net Zero Energy homes (1 single detached and 4 townhome units in the same building). The homes are heated by high-efficiency heat pumps and even the electric hot water tank uses heat pump technology as well. With R60 attic insulation, triple glazed windows and fully insulated basements these homes require 50% less energy to cool and heat the building. Throw in energy-efficient appliances and the ~9.6 kW DC solar energy systems provide all the energy to run the house for a year, again using the Net Metering model storing excess energy on the grid as a credit.
The home has no CO2 emissions given it has no connection to the Natural Gas grid and it generates all of its own energy on the roof. Imagine the savings alone in not having to pay Natural Gas services charges which at the end of 20 years would pay for the solar alone.
Net Zero Electricity
Most homes and hot water in Ontario is heated with Natural Gas. However, when you do Net Metering to displace 100% of your electrical needs you are Net Zero Electric.
Net Zero Carbon
For the purest, this would be the home that would also generate enough electricity to run your electric car. Remember if you plan to get an electric car budget 1 kW of Solar DC for every 5 km of daily travel.
iSolara Solar Power has experience with Net Zero homes, the CEO has one of the most energy efficient homes in Canada with 8 kW of solar on the roof which produces enough green energy to run his home and drive his 2017 Volt to work and back.
With the development of Li-Ion batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall 2, off-grid homes are becoming more and more a possibility. It really comes down to how much energy your home uses, your budget and finding someone who really knows what they are doing.
The largest challenge we hear about off-grid cottages was they were installed by a renewable energy dabbler who sized the system wrong. After that the owner suffered without power when they really needed it and the costs to fix the initial design problems were more than what the cost would have been to do it right the first time.
Even worse they had thousands of pounds of lead acid batteries that were cooked in a few years. The beauty of Li-Ion batteries, when installed properly they will last decades. The warranties for Li-Ion battery systems are longer than Lead Acid will last and the cost of Li-Ion is cheaper, even initially, when all things are considered.
Designing for off-grid in the country, you want to make sure your system is free from snow all winter. We recommend our Quick Track ground mount racking. Featured above this text, our patented ground mount racking has two positions. One position is low in the summer to harvest energy from the high sun and high in the winter (above the avalanche angle) to shed snow quickly, gain more power from the low winter sun and get extra power from the reflection of sunlight off the snow in front of the array. It produces 12-15% more power than a fixed rack and yet has no sensors, controllers, motors, actuators that are expensive to maintain.
Many people think they might as well go with an off-grid system but modern homes with large energy loads require substantial inverter and battery installations at a more significant cost. Solar can likely produce the power the home needs (as long as not electrically heated) but the currently available inverters need to be ganged together with large battery banks to get the energy required to start well pumps, run electric stoves, washers, dryers, etc. for any extended period of time. If you are going off-grid with your home do not look for least cost as it will equal long-term unhappiness, frustration and the greatest expense in the long run.
iSolara Solar Power is the largest solar installer in Eastern Ontario and we have a very solid process to deliver what we promise. Before you go off-grid, let us review what you energy needs are, calculate your annual use, design a system to supply it and then provide you a proposal that details the system we would install. We charge a little to do a solid off-grid design but compared to the cost of fixing something that was designed wrong it is money well invested.