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Living with Solar
1 year later
Tech Talk

by Jeff Shields 2023-10-26

It was just over a year ago that we had solar panels installed on our roof. We were optimistic going in but it has exceeded our wildest dreams.

To recap, we had 20-455 watt panels installed in 2 banks of ten on the east and west slopes of our garage. Our goal was to cut our electric bill in half. We just got our BC Hydro bill to cover the final period covering the last year. We went from an equal billing of $164/month or $1968 yearly to $420 for the past 12 months. Goal achieved and then some.

Here are the numbers

We generated 10.2 MWh (10200kWh) of electricity - that is the equivalent of 100,000 hundred-watt light bulbs burning for one hour.
We saved enough CO2 that it was the equivalent of planting 120 mature trees.
We have 3500kWh of credit with BC Hydro that will cover our Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan billings this winter.

The Financials

We had a home energy audit done as part of the Greener Homes initiative of the Federal Government to qualify for the grant and loan. The installation costs were $24,300 plus $900 for the pre and post-energy audit. We received a $24,300 loan plus $5,600 grant. In other words, we laid out $25,200 and received $29,900 back.

The loan is interest-free for 10 years. We put the grant into a high-yield savings account add $100/month and use this to pay down the loan at $200/month. We also took the money we would have spent and put that into high-yield dividend stocks that are paying #1,400/year. So combined with our energy savings of $1,500/year, we are in the black $500 for the first year.

Other items of interest

We have a level 2 charging station for our PHEV car that essentially was free to charge. To put that into perspective, we filled the car with gas on July 4th, and not again until Oct 4th, travelled 2000km on a 41-litre tank. That worked out to .7 l/100km or approximately 380 miles per US gallon.

Another number of interest is that for every watt of solar, you add $3 to the value of your home. Our system is 9000 watts, so we immediately added $27,000 to the value of our home.

At the end of the 10-year loan, we will be $33,000 to the good. Over the lifetime of the panels (25-30 years), we will be up over $80,000. Even more, if the price of electricity goes up.

I did receive some negative feedback from people who stopped by to ask about our experience and said I couldn’t counter China. My response is I don’t need to counter China, I just need to counter myself.

I strongly encourage you to look into adding solar to your home. With the interest-free loans and grants available, it is a very low-risk choice with a huge upside.


BC Hydro Net Metering:

Greener Homes Canada Grant:

Greener Homes Canada Loan:

Podcast with Chris Palliser of Shift Energy Group and Jeff Shields

Last Updated on: 2024-07-07