How It Works
As a consumer, when you purchase electricity from your local distribution company (Veridian, Toronto Hydro, Hydro One, etc.), that electricity is mostly generated through traditional means (Nuclear, coal, hydro) at a cost to you of approximately $0.10 per kWh (kilowatt-hour). However, to assist the growth of green energy solutions, the Ontario government is now paying green energy producers – i.e. solar panel owners – between $0.291 (ground mount) and $0.396 (rooftop) per kWh of electricity that they produce; and that rate is guaranteed for 20 years.
So what does that mean? It means that your installation can pay for itself in just a handful of years, leaving you with over a decade of guaranteed earnings! For example, this 8-panel unit in Ajax, Ontario cost roughly $12,000 to install back in August of 2010. In it’s first year, it generated 2.16 MWh (2160 kWh), and the owner was paid $1728 for providing that electricity to the grid. The full cost of this installation will be paid off in under 7 years. During the remainder of the 20 year guaranteed rate, the owner will earn another $22,464 from the energy produced! And after the 20 years, the owner can either continue selling, or offset their own household electricity costs!
The 4 Different Systems Solar Electric Exchange Builds
The Micro-FIT Grid Tied System
This type of system is the most commonly installed. This is where panels are installed on your commercial/residential rooftop, or on your property, and the electric energy created by the panels is delivered to the electricity grid(the wires on the poles outside!) The electricity produced by your solar system is metered, and you, the owner, receive 80.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour your system produces. A typical home in the Greater Toronto Area pays about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. So the electricity produced by a home-owners panels is like gold! The government is paying more for solar electricity as part of the Green Energy Act, which promotes more environmentally sustainable living.
What is a kilowatt-hour?….Electricity is measured and metered by your local distribution company (Veridian, Toronto Hydro, Hydro One.) A kilowatt-hour is the same amount of power it takes to light 8, 120 watt light bulbs for 1 hour.
Here’s a basic diagram of a grid tied system:
The Off-Grid Stand-Alone System
This is generally installed at cottages/remote locations without power. A Stand-Alone system consists of panels that supply electrical energy which gets stored in batteries. The batteries then act as the main power source for the cottage or home. Careful planning and consideration is involved with this type of system depending on the needs of the home or cottage owner. The owner may only require power for weekends or for everyday use. This system is well complimented with highly efficient appliances and sometimes other forms of energy (i.e. a woodstove.)
Here is a basic diagram of a Stand-Alone Off-Grid solar system:
The Net-Metering System
The FIT Contract System
The FIT(Feed In Tariff-non microFIT) contract systems are systems that have more than 50 panels. These are systems that almost always are on huge commercial rooftops, or in fields. Feed In Tariff solar installations bigger than 10 kilowatts are designated as Solar Farms. The rates paid for these installations vary with the size of the project – as the project gets bigger, the rate paid for solar electricity gets smaller – though it is still a good rate. These projects have large amounts of administration and engineering and require a multitude of group involvement. Planning and experienced project management is a must for this type of solar installation.Here is a solar farm in Ontario…
Our installation process is broken down into 3 major steps: a site assessment, permitting and installation, and commissioning.
Site Survey & System Design
1. Assess and analyze the solar energy availability for your site/home/building
2. Inspect the homes structural conditions to ensure requirements can be met for obtaining a building permit
3. Discuss with the homeowner their expectations and concerns regarding a PV installation
4. During the system design stage of a potential PV project Solar Electric Exchange will:
- Assess all mechanical and electrical information gathered during our site analysis
- Custom design the most optimal system for the home while meeting specific requests
- Estimate the system performance and installation cost for the entire project
Permitting & Installation
We will provide you with a detailed quote outlining the material costs, installation costs and maintenance for the system.
For all installations Solar Electric Exchange:
- Follows the Canadian electrical code
- Installs only certified equipment backed by manufacturers warranties
- Are fully licensed and insured
- Provides professional customer service
- Obtains all necessary permits and submits all necessary paper work
- Is present for all necessary electrical and utility inspections
Commissioning, Operating & Maintenance
To ensure continued customer satisfaction, Solar Electric Exchange offers:
- Trouble shooting (for the life of the contract)
- Annual system inspections
- Service calls
- Site Visit
- Skyline scan, site measurements & photos
- Structural Assessment and electrical inspection
- Roof Condition Report
- Design and Layout
- Product Consideration customized specifically for you