For most potential solar customers, the motivations for considering the purchase of a solar array break down into a combination of personal priorities. Many people have environmental motivations – they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Others like the idea of being more self-reliant. One thing everyone has in common, though, they would like to save money by making their own power.
How much will solar panels cost for an average Ontario customer?
According to the Ontario Energy Board, the average Ontario household consumes about 9,000 kWhs of electricity per year. This means that to offset 100% of their electrical use, an average Ontario homeowner would need to install an approximately 7,500 Watt solar array. With a current installed cost per watt of solar generation at between $2.50 and $3.00 per watt, that means that a 7,500 Watt solar array is going to run somewhere between $18,750 and $22,500.
“What kind of payback can I expect on solar?”
Simple payback refers to the equation: system cost ÷ value of energy produced = years to payback. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much. To begin with, electric rates are constantly changing. They will go up over time, so using current rates will probably not give you a realistic payback period. In addition, rates change throughout the day for many customers, thanks to time of day pricing. Most of the power produced by solar will be during mid-peak to peak times, so the value will range between 13.5 and 18 cents. For a quick calculation of the payback of your Net metering solar panels system check out our Solar Net Metering Calculator. If you are interested to find out how much income your microFIT project can bring take a look at our solar microFIT calculator.
Subsidies reduce payback
The actual payback period for Ontario residents depends on participation in one of a number of available programs.
Net metering is a “trade” of electricity you supply versus electricity you consume. Excess electricity is provided to the local distributor. Credits for that excess are applied toward your energy bill. Limited to systems of 500 kilowatts or less.
Under the microFIT program, you will be paid a guaranteed price for all the electricity your project produces for 20 years (40 years in the case of a hydro electric project).
New technologies mean lower prices
Because solar is becoming more and more popular, the price of a solar array is coming down all the time. New energy storage technology will be the next big trend in solar, and that could offer consumers a whole new set of options. In the meantime, thanks to current programs, it is a great time to consider solar for your home.