- Does Solar make sense on Vancouver Island?
Over the past several years, the cost of solar panels has fallen while their performance has improved. This means in places like Vancouver Island it now makes sense to install solar panels. Natural Resources Canada estimates that on southern Vancouver Island, solar can generate about 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity for every 1,000 kilowatt installed, and some of our clients are doing better.
- What is a “grid tie” system
A “grid-tie” solar system is connected to the electrical grid and utility (BC Hydro). With a grid-tie system, the electricity from the solar panels flows into the electrical panel, the building electrical loads and if there is excess into the grid. When there is not enough solar energy to power the loads (like on a cloudy day or during the night), the home or building uses electricity from the utility grid as normal. In this way, no batteries are required. However, when the grid is not available such as in a power outage, the solar array also turns off for safety purposes. A grid-tie system is for offsetting electrical costs and environmental reasons.
- What is "Net Metering"
“Net metering” is the program and agreement with the utility (BC Hydro) that keeps track of how much electricity a solar array puts back into the grid. Excess solar power fed back to the grid is measured by the smart meter and you are then given energy credits against the energy you use from BC Hydro. This is calculated each billing period and you pay the net. If your solar array produces more than the household electricity used in a year, BC Hydro will buy that electricity from the homeowner at a fixed rate.
- What is battery backup?
Battery Backup are batteries that store electricity from solar panels for when the panels can’t generate power. Battery Backup is most suited for remote location properties that aren’t able to connect to the BC Hydro grid and for rural locations where BC Hydro often has power outages. If you are connect to the BC Hydro grid and your power doesn’t go out much then “grid tie” is the best solution and avoids the cost of buying and installing batteries.
- Can I go Off-Grid?
Yes! But you may not want to....
Of course it's technically possible to go off-grid but in reality, for most people, it's both cost prohibitive and in many cases once the various systems are explained people who are on the grid get much more band for the buck by going grid-tie. Click on the Learn button above and learn about the various systems.
- What is the environmental impact of solar panels?
Every form of power generation has impacts. The benefit of solar panels is after they are installed they produced zero emissions and they can last from 20 to 30 years. More to come....