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How To Get Solar Panels

Cost Of Solar Power In Canada 2021

How do solar panels work? – Richard Komp

Published by Rylan Urban on Jan 14, 2019. Last updated March 11, 2021.

The average installation cost of solar power in Canada is $3.01/watt, or $22,500 for a 7.5kW system.

However, the cost of solar power changes depending on the size of the system required, your eligibility for solar incentives, the type of equipment used, and even on the province that you live in.

This page explains how to accurately calculate the cost of solar power for your property in just 3 steps. You can read from top to bottom or jump to your preferred section by clicking on it below:

Will Free Solar Panels Save You Money

You may have various reasons for going solar. If youre like most people, saving money, eliminating your utility bills and/or reducing your carbon footprint are probably at the top of the list. The environmental benefits of going solar are more or less the same regardless of who installs your system, so its key to focus on the financial benefits.

Regardless of its do-good image, the solar industry is an industry like any other: the companies offering products are looking to turn a profit. Providers of solar leases make their money by selling you electricity, usually at a lower rate than what you pay your utility.

Although companies like SolarCity once dominated the market for solar leases, countless other players have since entered the space and begun competing with each other. Some solar leases will save you more money than others. You as a solar shopper can now take your pick of company based on their offer. So even if financial gain is secondary to environmental considerations for you, you should still shop around to make sure youre getting the best deal.

Interested in learning about your local solar options? By shopping on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace you can compare not only solar lease options, but also purchase and solar loan options. Sign up today to get quotes from solar installers in your area.

How To Get Solar Panels For Free

by Shakuntla Ranawat | Oct 25, 2021 | Renewable Energy

Solar energy is a free and inexhaustible resource to fulfill the worlds energy requirements. All thanks to superstar Sun that we receive an incredible supply of solar energy.

In the past few decades, solar power was not very effective, and people chose non-renewable resources for energy production because they were affordable and readily available at those times.

In the mid-1950s, scientists at Bell Labs, New Jersey, discovered an efficient way to increase efficiency to turn sunlight into electricity with silicon PV cells. Following that, solar research and industry have achieved milestones by constant advancement and improvisation.

In the 21st century, we have the option to transport, store, and use solar energy in different ways.

The last few decades showed the mirror to the world when growing energy demands, environmental issues, and associated illness came into the spotlight. To deal with these issues and promote renewable energy, the U.S. Department of Energy is actively working.

The U.S. government and energy department sponsor, fund, and donate for the installation of solar panels regularly. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy funds for testing of PV systems according to proposals and guidelines.

The first thing that should come to your mind is how to get solar panels for free!

Before we discuss this in detail, lets start from the very beginning.

Also Check: How Big Of A Solar Power System Do I Need

Why Leasing Isn’t A Bright Idea

The steep up-front costs for a residential solar system can make a leasing companys sales pitch sound pretty appealing: Pay little or nothing and save hundreds of dollars per year on average. Leasing can also look seductively simple compared with buying: Theres no need to shop separately for an installer and financing you just sign on the dotted line. So its not surprising that 72 percent of the people who installed residential solar systems in 2014 did so through leasing or another type of third-party arrangement. But the reality is not quite so sunny.

Your Savings Will Be ModestPeople who lease their solar systems save far less than those who buy them outright or with a loan . Many leases contain an escalator clause that can further reduce savings by increasing payments 3 percent per year. So if youre paying 12 cents per kilowatt-hour in year one, with a 3 percent escalator, youll be paying 18.2 cents in year 15. That means that if the cost of energy doesnt rise as quickly as the contracted lease payments increase, your savings could evaporate.

You Lose Control of Your RoofLeasing companies want to maximize their profit, so theres a chance you could wind up with more panels than you want and that they could be installed in highly visible placessuch as facing the streetwithout any regard to appearance. To avoid that, check the final system design and placement before signing the lease. It could be different from the initial mock-up.

Main Factors Affecting Solar Panel Efficiency

How Do I Get Solar Panels For Free?  Aurora Energy

Youll want to maximise your solar panel efficiency to get the most out of your solar investment and to cut your expenditure on utility bills. Key factors to consider are location, angling, direction, roof suitability, size of the solar panel system, and correct maintenance. Let’s have a look one by one.

1. Location, Angle, and Direction

Is the PV system located and angled so that solar cells can capture the maximum amount of sunlight? In the UK, you want to ensure that your solar panels are exposed to sunlight from 9 am to 3 pm.

Assessing your roofs suitability to withstand solar panels is a crucial step in determining the efficiency of the system. The orientation and angle of your roof have a lot to do with how much sunlight exposure your panels will get.

The optimal direction for solar panels is south-facing, as it would mean the panels are exposed to sunlight for as long as possible. According to Stanford University, a 34° roof tilt angle is the best position for solar panels in the UK.

Energy Output by Roof Angle and Orientation

Roof Angle
50.5% 30.7%

If your roof doesnt have the optimal orientation and angle, you can install brackets to adjust the angle slightly. However, get this assessed by a certified MCS installer.

Solar PV expert Joshua M. Pearce shares with GreenMatch:

2. Roof Suitability

Nowadays, most materials are suitable to hold solar panels its only slate and wooden roofs that may be too brittle.

4. Maintenance

Recommended Reading: How Do You Use Solar Panels

Final Inspection And Interconnection To The Grid

Once your installation is complete, schedule an inspection with the local AHJ. The inspector will assess if the system is compliant with local ordinances, and whether the design matches those laid out in your plans.

The system will also need to pass an electrical inspection to ensure that it is code-compliant.

Once youve passed the inspection, you can apply for interconnection with the grid. The utility will either install a second meter, or replace your existing one with a bi-directional meter. The bi-directional meter can record your homes power exports the grid so that you can receive credits on your power bill.

The Further South You Live The More You Can Make

While you don’t need a summer home in Hawaii to get some juice from solar panels, the further south you are can make a difference when it comes to their effectiveness. Remember, this is about daylight, not hours of sunshine. Northern homes get slightly less, so where you live needs to be factored in.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Manchester could save you between £95 and £230 each year on your electricity bills, compared with around £100-£240 in London and £90-£220 a year in Stirling. See Does buying solar panels add up? below for full analysis.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Average Cost Of A Home Solar System

Things To Consider With Solar Panels

Calculate your sun exposure, costs and savings. In some parts of the country, solar panels will save more money and add more value to your home than in others. For example, someone in Seattle might not get the same value from solar panels as someone in Phoenix because of the disparity in sunshine.

To estimate your savings, you first need to know how many kilowatt-hours you use and how much youre paying for them. The average household pays about 13 cents per kilowatt-hour for 877 kilowatt-hours each month, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Then, figure out what size system youll need. You can use the Solar-Estimate calculator to see how many panels your home would need and how much energy they would generate.

Solar Thermal Systems For Hot Water And Heat In Your Home

How to install solar panels yourself on your roof. (It’s easier than you think)

Solar thermal systems convert sunlight into heat energy through solar thermal collectors, usually mounted on rooftops.

These collectors circulate a fluid which is heated by the sun’s radiant energy. The heated fluid can then be pumped through a heat exchanger to heat water, provide space heating for your home or even heat your swimming pool.

Read Also: Is It Better To Lease Or Buy Solar

Assess Your Options For Using Solar

Purchasing and installing a system that you fully own and maintain is no longer the only option if you want to go solar. Even if you rent your home or don’t want to purchase a rooftop system, there are many programs will enable you to still benefit from solar electricity.

Below are some of the options available for using solar energy at home check with local installers and your utility for programs available in your area.

Purchasing a Solar Energy System

Purchasing a solar energy system with cash or a loan is the best option when you want to maximize the financial benefits of installing solar panels, take advantage of tax credits, and increase the market value of your home, and a solarize program is unavailable or impractical.

The solar installer will connect the system to the grid, and receive an interconnection permit from the utility. When the PV system generates more power than the homeowner requires, the customer is often able to sell excess electricity to the grid, and when the homeowners electricity needs exceeds the capacity of the system, the home draws energy from the grid as usual. Learn more about grid-connected home energy systems.

Purchasing a solar energy system is a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:

Community or Shared Solar

Consider community solar if one or more of the following apply to you:

Learn more about community and shared solar.

Solar Leases

Solar leases are a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:

Solar Inverter Repair Price

The cost of solar inverter repair is $500 to $3,000. The most common issue with inverters is a loose connection. Finding that connection to make the repairs can be time-consuming, driving up the cost. String inverters can show codes indoors that allow faster repair, while microinverters must be checked at the source. If the issue is not a loose connection, replacement is the solution, resulting in higher costs. Generally, string inverters are the most common to require repair because of their setup.

Read Also: Can You Write Off Solar Panels On Your Taxes

Solar Panel Buying Guide Checklist

  • Assess what energy you currently use and the system capacity you need .
  • Check if your roof faces the right direction. Only north-facing panels will produce their full capacity.
  • Make sure there are no trees, power lines or other structures shading your roof.
  • Find out what local council approval is needed. Increasingly, local councils have staff on hand to help people make the best decisions on solar.
  • Try to figure out your system’s payback time.
  • The inverter is a key part of the system. See our guide to buying a solar inverter for all the details.
  • If you’re considering adding a battery, see our guide to solar storage batteries to understand the pros and cons.
  • Get multiple quotes from installers to ensure you’re getting a good deal, and make sure your installer is CEC-accredited .
  • Make sure your solar panels meet the required standards .
  • Check your solar panels’ product and performance warranties see below for what these are.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels

How to Get FREE Solar Panels

The average cost to install solar panels in the United States is about $12,000 after federal tax incentives. On the low end, you can install a smaller system for around $5,000, while a high-priced Tier 1 solar panel system can cost $40,000 or more.

There are additional costs that go into an installation project beyond the price of panels. In fact, only about a quarter of the installation costs are actually for the panels. Labor costs, operational costs and additional equipment, such as inverters and control circuitry, make up the rest of the price.

Solar energy companies install the solar panels, provide maintenance and offer warranties on both the panels and the work. These additional services arent free, but they are often worth it. A few additional factors affect the price of solar panel installation.

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How To Get Free Home Solar Power

Free home solar power installation is tied to a solar lease or power purchase agreement. Leases and PPAs are very similar and you can read the details of each on other pages within this site. The way it works is easy a solar power service provider installs solar power panels on your home at no charge and you agree to lease the home solar system for a period of time, the amount of time varies from provider to provider, usually it is around 20 to 25 years. The amount you pay the solar leasing company is less than your current monthy utility bill by as much as 50% depending on the area you live in. You start saving money the minute the power is turned on with no out of pocket costs.

The way the solar service provider makes their money back to cover the cost of the panels, installation, permits, monitoring and maintenance of the system for the term of the lease is by acquiring the incentives, rebates and net metering profits from the syatem the install for you at no charge.

What Kinds Of Solar Loans Are Available

  • Secured Loans

These are more affordable than unsecured loans as they have lower interest rates and are tax-deductible. However, this type of loan does use your home as collateral, so you need to be sure that you can pay off the money.

An alternative to a home equity loan is an FHA Title 1 Secured Loan. This has a government guarantee, and instead of repossessing your home if you do not make the repayments, the outstanding amount is paid upon selling your house.

  • Unsecured Loans

Unsecured loans may cost more. This is because there can be additional fees, the interest is higher, and you have no access to tax reductions. However, similarly to credit cards and other loans, your home will not be used as collateral.

The penalty for non-payment is the negative impact on your credit rating.

  • PACE loans

Property Assessed Clean Energy loans are a straightforward financing option that is available to residents of California, Missouri, and Florida. PACE loans differ from solar loans as they tax assess your property. Your payments for your solar system will show up along with your other property-related taxes on your tax assessment.

Homeowners can benefit from this type of financing because sometimes the first payment is not made for six months.

Your home is the only collateral on this type of loan . This means that they can be a little bit more expensive than other types of solar loan.

Similarly to PPAs, PACE loans are not available in all states.

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How Many Solar Panels Do You Need

  • The power output of your whole solar system matters more than the size or number of panels.
  • The higher each panel’s nominal power rating , the fewer panels you’ll need .
  • If you have plenty of roof space, you might find it more economical to buy cheaper panels with lower efficiency and just use more of them.
  • Most solar panels are about 1.6 square metres in area, but they vary in length, width and power output.

CHOICE tip: Fewer panels can mean a quicker installation.

An example: You could use four 250W Jinko panels, taking up 6.5m2 of roof space, to make a 1000W array. But four 327W Sunpower panels would take up the same overall area and form a more powerful 1308W array .

Solar Lease May Hurt Your Homes Value

Do It Yourself Solar Power? – Easy DIY Solar Panel Installation!

Solar lease will NOT add value to your house because they are the personal property of the leasing company and not a fixture on your house. In fact, a solar lease or PPA can devalue your house. In general, people who own rooftop solar enjoy an added value to their home but not with the leases. Buyers shy away from them because they straight out dont like the deal or simply do not understand it. Some appraisers say that to many potential buyers a solar lease is a liability rather than an asset, and may drive people away.

In the Bloomberg article, Dorian Bishopp blames the solar panels on his roof for costing him almost 10 percent off the value of the home he sold in March. According to the Bloomberg article Scott Vineberg, a SolarCity customer, received multiple offers for his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, home he sold in January. Unfortunately, the lease made the deal more complicated because the buyers were reluctant to take over the contract and asked him to pay off the balance in advance, that is 10 years of payments.

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