CO2 levels in atmosphere reaching 400ppm for first time in 3 million years

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 399.72 parts per million (ppm) and is likely to pass the symbolically important 400ppm level for the first time.

Readings at the US government's Earth Systems Research laboratory in Hawaii


ENTER
Renewable Energy

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& WIRING

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DC TO DC VOLTAGE CONVERTER INVERTER POWER PANELS
SOLAR WATER PUMPS FAQ s
MICRO-FIT & FIT QUESTIONS

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PRODUCTS

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How To Section
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& Site Analysis

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1 to 50 Watt Solar Panels
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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs - PV101 - Frequently Asked Questions
 

What is a residential solar electric system?

We offer comprehensive, code-compliant systems that allow you to generate your own electricity at home. Designed to interconnect with your existing utility service, they feature solar modules, plug-and-play wiring, power electronics and our patented mounting kits. Our installer network provides system installation and service. Contact Us for more details

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How does a residential solar electric system work?

Solar cells in the modules mounted on your roof convert sunlight directly into DC power. A component called an inverter converts this DC power into AC power that can be used in your home. The system is interconnected with your utility. During the day, if your solar system produces more electricity than your home is using, your utility may allow net metering or the crediting of your utility account for the excess power generated being returned to the grid. Your utility would provide power as usual at night and during the day when your electricity demand exceeds that produced by your solar system

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Will my system work at night?

No. Sunlight must be present for your solar modules to produce power. At night, you draw power from your utility.

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Will my system work on cloudy days?

Yes, though they produce less electricity. Under a light overcast sky, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun.

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Does your solar PV system make hot water?

No. People often confuse our products with solar thermal panels that involve water circulating through tubes to be heated by the sun for swimming pool water heating. Our solar modules convert sunlight into electric current.

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Can I generate heat for my home with a residential solar electric system?

No. Our solar power systems are designed to provide electricity to run your lights, appliances and other electric devices in your home. Other solar technologies are designed to turn the sun’s light into heat instead of electricity.

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What do the terms on-grid, grid-connected, grid-tied and off-grid mean?

On-grid, grid-connected or grid-tied means connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric systems are designed as on-grid systems, meaning that they interconnect with your existing utility service. Off-grid refers to systems that are not connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric packaged systems are not designed for off-grid applications.

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How do I know if a residential solar electric system would work on my home?

Solar electric power works for most homes. Our systems are engineered to work with most roofing materials, in most locations where direct sunlight is available, in almost every region of the Ontario . Shading from trees or other obstructions can reduce the practicality of a specific installation. A south-facing roof area is optimal, but solar electric panels can be mounted on west- or east- facing roofs and still produce better than 90 percent of the power of a true south roof mounting.

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Why is shade a problem?

Because of the wiring design of a solar module, all of the individual solar cells on a module must receive full sunlight for the module to work properly. If any portion of the module is shaded, the entire module power output-even those sections still exposed to sunlight-is lowered.

We are professional on Shading Analysis; please contact us for your best PV design.

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What if I need a new roof or am building a new house?

This is the ideal situation for installing solar. Before laying the roof, you can install flashable mounting brackets that provide the highest level of protection from leakage.

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Can I add reflectors or mirrors around the solar panels to increase the power they generate?

Yes, although solar panels designed for use in direct sunlight only.

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What other options do I have if the system cannot be mounted on my roof?

If a roof-mounted system proves impractical, a ground-mount, trellis or pergola application may be an option.

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If I rent a home or apartment, can I still get a system?

Yes. You should sign a 20-year lease agreement with the property owners.

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How much power will a residential system produce?

The amount of power produced by a system varies depending on the size of the system, your geographic location and climate.

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How can I tell how my system is performing?

We provide a power meter with the system. Located in your home, your power meter tells you exactly how much electricity you generate, and when you send power back to the utility grid.

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Will my modules blow off of my roof?

No, your modules will be attached to your roof with the highest in quality workmanship and materials allowing it to survive even the strongest weather.

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What if my house does not face directly south?

As a matter of fact most houses do not face directly south or have a 43 degree of angle. This is OK, variations in tilt and azimuth can make a difference but not necessarily by a large difference. If you call GreenerEnergy.ca, for a small fee we will assess your space and give you an estimate of how your site will do. We will give you statistics on the amounts expected of generation and return for each month and a total for the year. With these numbers it will make it easy for you to determine if your rate of return is sufficient to proceed.  If you do proceed with GreenerEnergy.ca we will reimburse you for the amount of the audit.

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FAQs - Feed in Tariff - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Green Energy and Green Economy Act?

Ontario ’s Legislature passed the landmark Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 on May 14, 2009. The sweeping legislation creates a new stand-alone statute known as the Green Energy Act, and enables amendments to 15 other statutes. These legislative changes include a range of measures designed to foster a culture of conservation and encourage the development of renewable energy projects. These measures will also stimulate the green energy sector in Ontario – attracting new investment, creating green jobs and providing clean renewable power to Ontario .

Specific benefits include:

  • sparking growth in renewable sources of energy such as biogas, biomass, landfill gas, solar, wind and waterpower in Ontario
  • creating the potential for greater household savings by introducing new conservation measures across the province
  • creating 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the first three years
  • Making a positive contribution towards provincial climate change objectives.

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What are the major components of the Green Energy Act?

The primary goal of the Green Energy Act is to further enable and promote energy conservation and renewable energy development. The major components of the Green Energy Act include:

  • the renewable energy Feed-in Tariff  Program
  • the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO)
  • a streamlined environmental approval process
  • Aggressive new conservation targets.

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Where can I find out more information about the Green Energy Act?

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MEI) has information on its website about the Green Energy Act at www.mei.gov.on.ca/en/energy/gea/ The Ministry of the Environment has information about renewable energy approvals at www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/business/green-energy.

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What is a feed-in-tariff and how does it work?

A feed-in-tariff (or FIT) is a straightforward way to contract for renewable energy generation. It provides standardized program rules, prices and contracts. Feed-in tariffs refer to the specific prices paid to renewable energy suppliers for the electricity produced by the generating facility. The pricing structure provides a reasonable return on investment and is differentiated by project size and technology type.

Ontario ’s FIT Program is the first of its kind in North America . While it incorporates lessons learned in several European countries and other jurisdictions, it has been specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of Ontario ’s electricity system and situation.

What is the difference between the FIT Program and the microFIT Program?
The microFIT Program is a “stream” or component of the FIT Program, designed specifically to encourage the development of micro-scale renewable energy projects, such as residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and small wind power facilities.

Projects eligible for microFIT must have a generating capacity of 10 kW or less. The microFIT Program has streamlined contracting and application processes. The FIT Program is for projects over 10 kilowatts; and the microFIT Program is for projects 10 kilowatts or less.

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When did the FIT Program launch?

The OPA began accepting FIT and microFIT applications on October 1, 2009.

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What are Feed-in Tariff rates for PV systems?

 

 

Size tranches

Contract Price ¢/kWh

Any type

< 10kW

80.2

Rooftop

>10 <250 kW

71.3

Rooftop

>250 <500 kW

63.5

Rooftop

>500 kW

53.9

Ground Mounted^

<10 MW

44.3

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What are the key features of the FIT Program?

Ontario ’s FIT Program has a number of key features. It:

  • provides a straightforward way to contract for generation
  • is open to various renewable energy technologies, including biogas, biomass, landfill gas, solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and waterpower
  • allows all types of generators, from homeowners to large developers, to participate
  • has different prices for different technologies and different project sizes
  • has prices that are intended to cover total project costs and provide a reasonable rate of return over a 20-year contract (40 years for waterpower)
  • provides incentives for First Nation and Métis projects
  • provides incentives for community-based projects
  • offers long-term price guarantees to increase investor confidence and access to financing
  • drives the expansion of the distribution and transmission systems, which allows generators to connect to the grid.

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Will applications for the FIT and microFIT Programs have to be approved?

Yes – all FIT program applications will first be reviewed to make sure that all the required application materials have been completed. Applications will then be assessed to ensure they meet the program requirements and determine whether there is available connection capacity to connect projects to the grid before a contract can be signed. The OPA’s target for completing the approval of complete FIT Program applications is 60 days.

All applications to the microFIT Program will be reviewed by the OPA. If an application meets the program eligibility requirements, the OPA will send the applicant a conditional offer of contract. The OPA aims to complete the approval of microFIT Program applications within 30 days of receiving complete applications and any clarifications that might have been requested by the OPA.

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How long will program contracts run?

Contracts run for 20 years for both the FIT and microFIT Programs, with the exception of contracts for waterpower which run for 40 years.

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What areas of the province can participate in the FIT and microFIT Programs?

All areas of the province connected to the IESO-controlled grid can participate. This includes projects connected directly to the transmission system, to a distribution system connected to the IESO-controlled grid, or to a distribution system embedded within another distribution system. There are a few areas not connected to the Ontario grid that would not be able to participate in the FIT and microFIT Programs. These include Cornwall , which is connected to the Quebec grid, and remote communities in Northern Ontario .

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Do I have to own the property on which I want to install the project?

For FIT projects you must provide evidence of access rights to a property. This does not mean that you have to own the property. For example, you may have a lease arrangement for 20 years.

For microFIT projects, you do not have to own the property, but you must be permitted by the property owner to install the microFIT project on the property. The microFIT contract holder must be the same person or entity as the holder of the local electricity distribution company (LDC) generator account and the holder of the connection agreement associated with the microFIT project. Note that an LDC generator account is required for all microFIT projects. This is a separate account from any existing LDC customer.

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Are net-metered projects eligible to transition to FIT and/or microFIT?

Facilities that are 10 kW or less and meet the requirements of the microFIT Program Rules can apply to the microFIT Program.

Facilities that are greater 10 kW and equal to or less than 500 kW are eligible to apply for the FIT Program. Facilities greater than 500 kW are not eligible to transition to the FIT Program.

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What happens to the environmental attributes of a project?

The OPA will own all of the environmental attributes associated with projects that receive contracts through the FIT and microFIT Programs.

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What if I sell my house while under a microFIT contract?

The OPA anticipates that sellers would include their renewable energy systems as part of the sale of their homes. In this case, the microFIT contract can be assigned to the purchaser. The new contract holder would receive payments in accordance with the microFIT contract for the remainder of the contract term. Remember, you are selling a house with an income.

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How long will microFIT contracts run?

Similar to the FIT Program, the contract term for microFIT projects is 20 years; 40 years for waterpower.

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What projects are eligible for a microFIT contract?

The microFIT Program is available to very small renewable energy projects located in Ontario . Projects must have a generating capacity of 10 kW or less. Additions to existing facilities (incremental projects) may be eligible as long as they use the same renewable fuel and the combined capacity does not exceed 10 kW. Only the additional capacity will be eligible for microFIT prices.

A project must be connected to the province’s electricity distribution system through the local distribution company and must be separately metered for data gathering and payment purposes. The project must not have a RESOP contract. To see all eligibility requirements please click here.

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If I install rooftop solar panels, does that mean I’ll never have to pay another electricity bill?

No. You will continue to pay for all of the electricity that you consume in your house or business. You will be paid for all of the electricity produced from your solar panels. Power generated under the microFIT and FIT Program is to be metered and accounted for separately from any electricity consumed by the owner of the project.

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Is the definition of solar PV limited to rooftop panels only?

No, any solar PV project 10 kW or less in size will be eligible for the microFIT Program, regardless of whether it is mounted on a roof or on the ground. All eligible solar PV projects will receive the same price for electricity produced.

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Will my property taxes go up if I install a microFIT project on my property?

As the microFIT Program is a new way of generating renewable energy in the province, there is little experience with respect to its effects on property taxes. We encourage you to contact your local municipality to discuss your project in the context of local taxation.

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I have signed a contract with an electricity retailer. Will I be able to participate in the microFIT Program? Will I have to pay an exit penalty?

You will be eligible to participate in the microFIT Program. However, we strongly advise you to contact your electricity retailer to ensure that by entering into a microFIT contract you will not be violating the terms and conditions of your retailer’s contract.

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When do I receive a microFIT contract?

You will receive a conditional offer of microFIT contract once your application has been approved by the OPA. This conditional offer will guarantee you a microFIT contract provided that you comply with the microFIT Rules.

You will receive a microFIT contract offer notice after your local distribution company has connected your project and provided the OPA with certain information about your connection request and connection agreement. Your microFIT contract will be finalized once you have accepted the contract offer online on the OPA website.

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What price will I receive?

The price that you will receive will be consistent with the FIT price schedule at the time the conditional offer of microFIT contract was made (i.e. at the time your microFIT application was approved).

If your project is not connected within 12 months of receiving a conditional offer of micro FIT contract, the conditional offer will expire and you will have to re-apply to the microFIT Program.

To view the current price schedule, please click here.

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Is there a penalty if I decide I no longer want to participate in the microFIT Program?

A microFIT contract holder may terminate a contract with the consent of the OPA. There are no fees or penalties for terminating your contract; however, you will no longer receive payments for power generated from your renewable energy system following termination. Also note that if your connection agreement with your local distribution company is terminated, your microFIT contract is terminated automatically.

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What is an incremental microFIT project?

An incremental microFIT project is an expansion of an existing project. The incremental project must make use of the existing project metering and connection and must use the same technology as the existing project. To receive a contract for an incremental microFIT project, you must be the owner of the existing project and the incremental project.

Can my microFIT project be connected to a battery backup system?
Battery backup systems cannot be located behind the generation meter. For more information, please refer to the microFIT Rules.

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How is the connection date determined for a microFIT project?

The connection date is the date the project is physically connected to the local distribution company’s distribution system or the load customer with metering configurations appropriate for microFIT settlements.

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What is the start date for my microFIT contract payments?

The start date or effective date for microFIT contract payments is either:

  • the connection date, if you accept the contract offer within 15 business days of the contract offer notice, or
  • the later of the connection date and the first day of the local distribution company settlement period in which the contract was accepted, if you accept the contract after 15 business days of the contract offer notice.

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How are microFIT payments calculated?

Generators will be paid for all of the electricity produced by their project, whether it is connected directly to the distribution system or load embedded. The load customer (i.e., the consumer of electricity such as a home) will be billed separately for all of the power consumed. Therefore, payment equals electricity production (kWh) multiplied by the microFIT contract price.

Note that you will be responsible for paying for all ongoing account fees that are associated with your local distribution company and your generator account.

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Can I terminate a microFIT contract?

Yes, you can terminate your microFIT contract with OPA consent. Also, you should note that your microFIT contract will terminate automatically if you terminate your connection agreement with your local distribution company. You will need to provide the OPA with 30 days' notice.

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How long are the prices under the FIT and microFIT Programs guaranteed?

Once a contract has been signed, the generator will receive the price specified in the contract over the 20-year term of the contract. The price will not change for the generator once the contract has been signed except for applicable inflation adjustments.

The program rules specify that the FIT and microFIT Programs (including prices) will be reviewed every two years. It is expected that prices for new projects will drop over time if project costs decrease. This means that if you sign a contract today, you will receive today’s price for the contract term. If, on the other hand, you wait for two years to apply and sign a contract two years from now, you will receive the price applicable at that time.

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Do I have to pay income tax and/or collect GST on the payments I receive?

By participating in the FIT and/or microFIT Programs you are entering into a business relationship with the OPA and will be receiving business income. We strongly advise all interested parties to consult the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or a tax consultant to understand the rules about reporting business income and about collecting and remitting GST on business income.

Please visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/menu-eng.html or call 1-800-959-5525 for information on GST registration and collection.

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If I enter into a contract, how much will I be paid for the electricity my project produces?

A range of standardized prices has been established under the FIT and microFIT Programs based on the OPA’s knowledge of typical project costs, stakeholder input and experience in other jurisdictions where FIT programs operate. These prices have been differentiated by project size and type of renewable energy technology being used in the project. They are intended to cover equipment, installation, operation and maintenance costs over the term of the contract and to provide a reasonable rate of return on investment.
Click here for the FIT Program price schedule.

You will be paid the FIT contract price multiplied by the amount of electricity produced (kWh).

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How are payments made?

For projects connected to the distribution system – this includes all microFIT and some FIT Program projects – payments will be made by the local electricity distribution company (LDC) to the generator on a regular basis according to the LDC’s normal billing cycle. Payments will begin when a project is built, is in-service and has a contract.

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Do I have to register as a business if I participate in the FIT or microFIT Programs?

By participating in the FIT and/or microFIT Programs you are entering into a business relationship with the OPA and will be receiving business income. We strongly advise all interested parties to consult the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to understand the rules about reporting business income and business registration. Please visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/menu-eng.html or call 1-800-959-5525 for information on GST registration and collection andwww.ontario.ca/en/services_for_business/index.htm for information on business registration in Ontario .

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Is there a limit to the amount of power I can generate and the payments I can receive?

There is no limit on generation output. However, payments vary depending on technology and project size. Click here for the microFIT price schedule.

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Will contract prices change over time?

For some technologies, the price schedule includes an annual increase based on a percentage of the consumer price index (CPI). This increase will help protect developers against inflationary pressures.
Click here to see specific prices and CPI factors.

Prices will be reviewed every two years to consider technological advances and other factors that may lead to cost decreases. Changes in prices related to the two-year review will only apply to new projects and the OPA will give due notice before any price changes take effect.

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FAQs - GREENERENERGY.CA ABOUT - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a residential solar electric system?

We offer comprehensive, code-compliant systems that allow you to generate your own electricity at home. Designed to interconnect with your existing utility service, they feature solar modules, plug-and-play wiring, power electronics and our patented mounting kits. Our installer network provides system installation and service. Contact us for more details

Can the modules withstand high winds and hail?

The panels are supported by our roofer-designed mounting system that has been tested to withstand 125 mph (200 kph) winds and can work on almost every type of roofing material. Our modules can withstand one inch (2.5 cm) hailstones at 50 mph (80.5 kph).

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How long will my solar power system last?

With no moving parts and made of very inert materials, our solar modules are tough. Most of the related system components should also last for many years without problems.

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Will you put holes into my new steel roof?

We do not put holes in your steel roof. We have clips that attach to your steel roof leaving it totally intact.

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Do I need to replace my shingles?

Depending on how old your shingles are you may be OK or you may need to replace them before installing a system. Shingles come in many grades ranging from 15 to 30 year warranty. Steel roofs are usually warranted for 50 years. If you have a new roof you are already half way there. What you need is something that will last at least 20 years. With the panels in place your shingles should last longer due to less heating of the attic space in summer. Chances are if you have a steel roof, you will be ready to go and set for many years of collection.

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Will a solar tracker improve my efficiency?

If you are putting your solar tracker in an open area with no shading you can expect to see a 35% increase in generation.

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Do I need a building permit?

Yes. We will help to obtain the necessary permits from your local government.

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Do I need permission from the local utility to connect my solar system to the grid?

Yes. The local utility has rules and procedures that must be followed to connect any generator to the grid safely and legally. These rules are generally based on Ontario standards with which our systems comply. We will help you with the documentation and procedures.

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Does the company have proper credentials/training?

Solar systems in Canada usually require the services of a professional tradesman: an electrician for solar PV systems. We offer a professional PV trained installers, please see details at GreenerEnergy.ca

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Do you carry quality products?

Along with the importance of choosing the right type of system, you also need to be sure of the quality of the equipment supplied by the company. Ensure that the products they are selling carry an approval seal from the Canadian Standards Association. In some cases, standards are not yet available for solar products in Canada . If the product is imported check to see if it carries an international safety label such as UL (certification from Underwriters Laboratories Standards for Safety) or the CE marking (certifying a product has met European Union consumer safety, health or environmental requirements).

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Do you offer guarantees on their services/products?

We offer 5 year warranties (both products and Labour) for our system, also inc. 25 years warranty for our PV panels.

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Do I need special insurance to cover solar panels?

You should check with your home insurance company to determine whether insurance is required to cover your solar panels. As a homeowner, you likely will be required to get additional insurance. If this is the case, you should have your solar installation company discuss your project with your insurance company to ensure that they are properly educated about the technology.

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Do I need a building permit to install solar panels?

Municipal building permit requirements vary. Check with your municipal building permitting office to find out if a permit is required for installing solar panels.

Are there any bylaws that may prevent the installation of solar panels?
Municipal bylaw requirements vary. Check with your municipal bylaw office to find out if any bylaws affect the installation of solar panels.

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What are the best physical attributes for a home if I am installing solar panels?

Solar PV panels work best when installed at approximately a 30 to 45 degree angle in a south-facing direction with no obstructions such as trees or other buildings. Roof racks and other mounting equipment can be used to ensure the panels meet the proper slope on your roof or can be placed on a mounting system that is positioned on the ground. Please contact us to do the site assessment for you.

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What is the average cost for a solar installation for a home?

An Ontario homeowner might install a residential-scale solar PV project of about three kilowatts (which would typically equal about one-third of the home’s electricity consumption). Please contact us for details

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What is the average payback period for an average-sized solar PV home installation of 3 kW?

A three kW solar PV installation could pay for itself in about 7-8 years, leaving about 12-13 years of “above-cost” payments, for a very reasonable rate of return over the 20-year term of the contract. For a more accurate estimate of the payback period,

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How many kilowatts can I generate in a typical year with an average-sized solar PV home installation of three kW?

The average yearly output for your microFIT project will vary based on your location and exposure to the sun. A typical 3 kW solar PV system could produce approximately 4000 kWh per year. For a more accurate estimate of your project’s expected output. Contact us.

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Do I need to reinforce my roof?

 

The Ontario building code has been streamlined to allow a 10kw or a microFIT system on your roof with no further reinforcement. With the way the array is spread out it doesn't create a lot of stress on your roof and is considered a safe attachment to your home.

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FAQs - Benefits - Frequently Asked Questions

Why are solar photovoltaic (PV) prices higher than other technologies?

FIT Program prices are designed to allow a renewable energy project developer to recover the cost of purchasing, building and maintaining the projects and to earn a reasonable rate of return on investment over the contract period. Prices account for capital costs (e.g., purchasing, building, acquiring land, etc.), operating and maintenance costs, connection costs and a reasonable rate of return.

Solar PV prices are higher than prices for other technologies because of the high costs to buy solar PV systems. Technologies associated with solar PV are rapidly advancing and the current market is still small. The FIT Program prices are designed to kick-start the solar PV industry in Ontario . With regular price reviews scheduled every two years, the FIT price for solar PV is expected to decrease to reflect technological advances and growing market supply.

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How do Ontario ’s prices compare to other places where FIT programs are offered?

Experience from other places where a FIT program is offered served as input to the prices for Ontario . These prices take into account experience in other countries (such as Germany and Spain ); they also specifically reflect the economic and resource conditions unique to Ontario .

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Do the modules work in the winter?

Yes, even with the shortened days and the lower sun of winter, the cooler temperatures make the modules more efficient. The modules will get covered in snow but as the sun shines they do warm up and the snow melts off of their very slippery surface. The surface is slippery to keep them self cleaning leaving the module clean and ready to do its job.

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GENERAL
INFORMATION