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Time to go Solar
Tech Talk

by Jeff Shields 2022-08-22

We are having solar panels install at our home/office. The system we are installing will generate approximately 60% of our yearly consumption. It is the equivalent of taking 1 car off the road every year or planting 3920 trees or 320 barrels of oil saved. But the big thing is the monetary savings, over the life of the panels - $44,000, almost double the cost.

What made it so attractive to do it now?

Last year the Canadian government announced a new home energy grant up to $5000 for upgrades to heating/cooling systems, windows and doors, insulation and adding solar panels to existing home. Then in June of this year they announced an interest free loan up to $40,000 for 10 years to facilitate the adoption rate.

Here in BC, BC Hydro has a net metering program where they will purchase any excess energy you generate. On January 1, they take the wholesale price for electricity and on March 1 send you a cheque for any accumulated credits. Our application for net metering has already been approved.

As energy flows out of the home, you earn credits that are applied to subsequent bills. In our 2 tier billing system where energy over the threshold is charged at a higher rate, having the credits applied reduces the higher tier first, means big savings.

In doing my research, how we use our electricity with solar panels will be need to be adjusted to take advantage of when the panels are generating power. So instead of running the washer and dryer at the same time, we will finish drying one load before starting the second wash. Also we will avoid using the dishwasher while using either the washer or dryer. It also means doing laundry or running the dishwasher during the daylight hours. Not an issue for us since we work from home.

We also have a plugin hybrid car so charging it during the day will be free. We tend to run only in EV mode around town and only burn gas when on the highway. At the time of writing this, I have gone 700km and only used 10 litres of gas and still have 3/4 of a tank left. Without the solar panels a full charge costs around 80 cents to $1.20 depending on whether we are in the 1st or 2nd tier of the billing cycle. I only need to plugin 3 times a week on average.

The system comes with smart electronics and we will be able to monitor our usage, panel efficiency and detect any problems right from our phone or tablet. It also has a 25 year warranty on materials, production and labour.

All in all, for us, this was a simple decision but a bit complex to work through all the information. If you are considering going solar either as net metering or off-grid, this is a great time to do it.

Last Updated on: 2024-06-04