Frequently Asked Questions


Will my property go up in value if I install rooftop solar panels?

Even though there is no data available from the Canadian Real Estate Association, one of the most recent studies into homes sale prices in 6 US States (California, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) reveals that solar panel systems might in fact add  significant values to residential properties. Researchers looked at 4’000 recent real estate transactions from May 2010 till October 2014, and discovered that houses with solar panels were sold at almost 4% premium compared to the average selling House with solar panels, calculator, schedule, and coins. Isolated render on a white backgroundprice on the market. For instance, if a typical house next door is being sold for $500’000, your own property with solar panel system should be appraised higher by min $20’000. This, of course, would also depend on the age of your solar panel system, your microFIT rate, term of the contract, and other factors.


Can I recover HST paid on the purchase of solar panel system?

The answer is YES, if your solar panel system is connected to the grid, and used  exclusively to sell electricity to the IESO (former OPA). Most participants in the microFIT program are considered as small suppliers for the HST purposes. If you voluntarily register for the HST number, you are then required to collect and remit HST on your taxable sales of electricity to your local hydro company. As per Canada Revenue Agency GST/HST info sheet GI-122 dated September 2011, if you are a GST/HST registrant, you are eligible to claim full Input Tax Credits for the cost associated with the purchase and installation of your solar panels system. Just make sure you provide proper documentation and make the claim within the time limit.


Will my property taxes increase if I install solar panels?

If you install your solar panel system of any size on the rooftop of your property, the assessment and tax classification will NOT change as per Ontario Regulation 282/98 under the Assessment Act dated January 4, 2012. The same applies to the ground mount solar panel installations, but with the size limited up to 10kW. If you go with a medium-size system (10kW to 500kW), your solar panels generation facility will be taxed based on the adjacent land use rate  (e.g. residential, commercial, farm, etc.)


How much solar does Ontario actually get?

We know.. this is Canada! Our winters can be harsh sometimes, but we are still blessed with the amount of sun we get every year. Amount of Solar Energy received on a flat surface over time is the key piece of information required to size and estimate performance of your solar panel system. This is the base for all of your future Solar Energy Generation and Income calculations.

Natural Resource Canada (NRCan) has been measuring and recording Solar Energy/Insolation and other parameters from 144 meteorological stations across Canada for more than 40 years. As a result, a few very accurate and informative tables and maps are available for you to use here: www.pv.nrcan.gc.ca

For example, the Solar Photovoltaic potential for the City of Toronto is 1163 kWh/kW, which means that every 1000W (1kW) of DC power (for example, 4 solar panels of 250W each) can generate 1163 kWh of AC electricity every year! If you install a 10kW solar panel system, it will be producing 1163kWh/kW x 10kW=11’630 kWh per year on average.

Photovoltaic Map of Canada

City of Vancouver gets 1007 kWh/kW, Calgary – 1291 kWh/kW, Halifax – 1073 kWh/kW. If you compare these numbers with the rest of the world like London, England (728 kWh/kW), Berlin, Germany (848 kWh/kW), Beijing, China (1148 kWh/kW), you can see that Canada has an amazing solar photovoltaic potential.

Today you can harvest this energy of sun, make money, and contribute to a cleaner environment


How do solar panels work?

Solar panels consist of multiple solar cells that capture sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. Once a solar cell is exposed to the sunlight, the energy of sun (photons) is transferred to electrons in the material surface. This extra energy helps electrons “escape” from their atoms and start moving, thus producing electric current. The movement of electrons is also called a photovoltaic effect (PV).



What materials are used to make a solar panel?

Solar cells are usually made of polysilicone, a product refined from quartz and silica sands. Its various grades are used to fabricate solar cells of different quality, and crystalline silicone is currently the best in terms of efficiency and cost. Multiple solar cells are then laminated within a plastic substrate to hold them in place and protect electrical connections. Finally, solar panels are sealed between a sheet of tempered glass on the top and backing material, and framed with an aluminum channel around. A junction box with all the electrical connections is mounted on the back of a solar panel.

 

 

 

      JUNCTION BOX


What long do solar panels last?

Solar panels lose approximately 0.5% to 0.75% in power output every year due to solar cells degradation and other factors. So, if you were to install solar panels today, 20 years down the road they will still be producing 85% of their nominal power. This reduction in output must always be factored in when calculating your annual power production and microFIT Income. Make sure quotes and financial analyses you are getting from solar panels installers do reflect that!

Other than that…your solar panel system should easily last more than 30 years, provided that it was installed properly, and there’s no failure of solar cells within modules due to thermal stress, manufacturing defects, delamination, cracking, etc.
Below is the chart showing reduction in annual power output (in kWh) of a typical 10kWp microFIT system over the course of 20 years: 



How do micro-inverters work?

Demonstrates in detail how micro-inverters work. This video provided by Enphase, one of the leading micro-inverter manufacturers.


Another video discussing micro-inverter technology provided by Enecsys. Also demonstrates details of installation process.