Turnkey solar power systems are now available to Ontario homeowners at prices which, amortized over 25 or 30 years, can deliver electricity as cheaply as your local Hydro company!
There are of course provisos, principal of which is the efficiency of the site. When generous government incentives were available, solar was installed on many sub-optimal sites, facing east and west, even north.
To be as cheap as local distribution company, your solar roof needs to be south facing with a slope of 20-40 degrees so the annual production is the maximum (about 1200 kWh per kW per year).
To be cost effective, my preferred installer has focused on standardizing systems and reducing costs to the homeowner ever since the Ontario Government in 2018 removed all incentives for renewable technologies in the province.
Through me, you can sign an installation agreement directly with the installer who is an electrical contractor and will be responsible for the entire job.
A site assessment is mandatory: there first is a remote assessment, then after receiving a refundable deposit, the installer will visit the site in person to assess roof condition and electrical service panel in addition to the factors mentioned below.
The ideal roof for solar faces near south, has a slope of 20-40 degrees, and is unobstructed, not shaded, and large enough for at least 20 solar panels.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing and should be almost new to avoid the later expense of removing the solar panels in order to re-shingle.
To be cost effective, need to allow my installer to choose the equipment. Much work has gone into selecting components that are available in Ontario at negotiated prices. Insisting on the latest and greatest product you saw on the internet will in most cases add to the cost of the system. If you have strong preferences I suggest first getting the standard quote then upgrades can be considered.
There are 3 principal components to a rooftop solar power system: the inverter, the solar panels (also called modules) and the racking (also called mounting system).
At the present time, my preferred installer is using SMA inverters. Canadian Solar panels and Kinetic Solar racking. All tier 1 equipment.
My next post will provide examples with actual costs and return on investment for 5, 7.5 and 10 kW systems.