Solar Panels Ontario: 3 Things You Need to Know

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With the rising costs of energy bills and concerns over climate change, it's no wonder many are considering solar panels in Ontario as a clean alternative. While wind and water have their merits, solar is by far the most accessible, and the installation of panels is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. More and more people are adding solar panels to existing rooftops, and the experts at L. Patten and Sons highly recommend considering solar for any new custom home builds.

Solar Panels Ontario: 3 Things You Need to Know 

If you're a homeowner considering adding solar panels in Ontario, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into, and how you stand to benefit. Read on to discover some valuable information to help with the decision-making process.

Your Return on Investment Will Outweigh Initial Cost

According to the Ontario Energy Board, the average Ontario household consumes about 9,000 kWhs of electricity per year. As Ontario Solar Installers adds, "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."

For many, that might be a deal breaker right off the top, but it's important to see the long term savings available here. This is possible due to net metering, a program that assesses the difference between your energy used vs. the energy generated by solar panels each month.  In the summer months, there will likely be more energy generated than consumed and in that case, the utility credits the homeowner with the excess.  In winter, then, those credits can be used to cover the shortfall. 

Altogether, the cost of installing the appropriate solar setup on a home is significant, but in many cases it is both a sound financial and environmental decision.  At present, the general payback period for an appropriately-sized residential solar system is 8-10 years, once all costs are factored in.  So while the investment up front is substantial, the benefits should last well beyond the payback period.

Remember this, again via Ontario Solar Installers: "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 panels in Ontario. There's also the Solar Panel Power Canada Cash Incentive Program to be aware of, the value of which is always equal to the number of years that Canada has been an independent country.

Anyone considering building a custom home should seriously consider adding solar panels to the plan; for more, read "Should I add solar panels to my home in Ontario?" and contact the experts at L. Patten and Sons today.

 While the investment up front is substantial, the benefits should last well beyond the payback period.

While the investment up front is substantial, the benefits should last well beyond the payback period.

 

You Must Assess Amenability of Home and Property

It's vital to have your property assessed prior to installing solar panels in Ontario, especially for pre-existing homes. If your home will have only early morning or late day sun, solar may not be the best option.  The same can be said if you have a heavily treed area surrounding the house.  The potential must exist for long periods of full sun exposure for the idea of solar to be worthwhile.

If you're building fresh on a property that's amenable to solar, all efforts should be made to design the house to take full advantage of the available sun. The slope and orientation of your roof will play a very large part in the success of your solar panels, and the design should consider the weight load of the system, as well as the wiring needs.  

Planning ahead for an efficient system will cost no more at the beginning, but will save far more in the end. Again, the costs are all front-end for solar, so if you plan to sell in less than 10 years, you will not recoup your costs and the next owner will reap all of the rewards. 

Another factor to consider here is the look: Some people are quite simply turned off by the thought of having solar panels plunked on top of their homes, or freestanding in their yards. It's a relatively new technology that some aren't accustomed to, and that can take away from the look of a more traditional home. Designers these days are more than able to fit them in seamlessly, keeping your home attractive while also having a modern, forward-thinking feel. Most residential homeowners' solar panels in Ontario are installed on the roof, while rural homeowners tend to put them on the roof of their house, barn, or shop, or freestanding in their yard.

Keep in mind that if the property owner pays residential rates for hydro, then no ground-mounted solar will be allowed. All solar panels must mount to the roof or wall of a building.  Additionally, this building may not exist for the primary purpose of acting as a support for the panels.  A local building official will be required to certify that the building has another primary purpose.

Be sure to check out our article on “5 Questions to Ask when Buying Land to Build a House” for more.

 If you're building fresh on a property that's amenable to solar, all efforts should be made to design the house to take full advantage of the available sun.

If you're building fresh on a property that's amenable to solar, all efforts should be made to design the house to take full advantage of the available sun.

 

You Will Do Your Part to Help the Environment (With Little Maintenance)!

At the end of the day, there's no denying solar panels are good for the environment and require little maintenance when installed.

With solar energy, you no longer have to worry about leaving a large carbon footprint. Solar energy is clean and renewable, and you will be greatly helping the environment and contributing less to global warming by cutting down on your use of fossil fuels. Some choose not to power their entire home with solar energy and decide on a smaller system to power a smaller percentage of your home, but even in that case, you are still greatly reducing any negative impact on the environment.

Once installed, solar panels don’t require much effort or costs in order to maintain. In terms of cleaning, you can usually maintain a solar panel using the same equipment that you use to wash your windows; as long as you provide regular care and don't allow dirt and other environmental elements to settle on the panels for too long. Here's a quick tutorial on how to clean your solar panels.

You can also install a monitoring system to keep an eye on the performance of your solar panels, and when the performance goes down you'll know that maintenance is required. Most of these monitoring systems need to be installed professionally with the purchase of a monthly subscription fee, and WikiHow outlines some advantages of doing so:

  • You can keep track of how much energy is being produced by your solar panels.

  • Monitoring systems can show you how you are benefiting the environment, such as lower amounts of CO2 emissions compared to other energy systems. These statistics may help you receive tax benefits when filing your tax return.

  • You can diagnose problems through your monitoring system. Many of these devices will tell you which areas of your solar panel are not functioning properly and need repair.

  • See information about your solar panels on a wall-mounted display while at home or via the Internet while travelling.

 You can install a monitoring system to keep an eye on the performance of your solar panels.

You can install a monitoring system to keep an eye on the performance of your solar panels.

 

Solar Panels Ontario: Trust The Professionals At L. Patten

Ontario has been ranked by Solar Power Panel Canada as being the eighth best province for solar power, scoring because of the net metering programs and for being the fourth sunniest province in the country. As of 2018, Ontario is Canada’s largest installer of solar power (per capita). There is currently over 800 MW of developed solar projects across the province from the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Sudbury, and another 1500 MW of solar projects on rural properties across the province. A custom home in the Collingwood area, therefore, is primed for solar panel usage, giving you the ability to design and install them in a cost-efficient and aesthetically pleasing way and in a very attractive market.

L. Patten & Sons can help you understand all there is to know about custom home building bylaws in Collingwood. If you are designing your home, have questions, or are ready to work with a custom builder, ensure you get the best service and experience with L. Patten & Sons.

We deliver a specialized experience with a hands-on process. From initial discussions, to design, to final touches - you can count on us for open communication throughout the whole process, with only the finest quality work. We're so focused on your satisfaction that you can even expect a call back from us to ensure everything is in tip-top shape. We don't just build on a big property, we focus on the small details that you'll appreciate for decades to come. Contact us today to set up your consultation.

"Choosing L. Patten and Sons last October 2011 was the best decision we made when we built our home in Blue Mountains. Both Kristine and Jerry made our building experience exciting, smooth sailing, on budget and fun! (Yes – fun!) They were extremely accommodating of our many requests and were very aware of costs, quality and workmanship. They responded immediately to our countless emails and phone calls as we were "hands –on customers" who had many questions as the project progressed. They never gave excuses and were always on "our side" to get the job done how we wanted it to be done." - Liz and Ralph Bauer

Read more testimonials here.