Until Dec. 31, 2017, residential solar panels in Ontario were able to be installed as part of the MicroFIT or FIT programs. Changes were made by the provincial government, however, and L. Patten and Sons is here to help you sort through the updated regulations. Read on to learn more about net metering, and what it means for your energy-efficient custom home build. If you are looking to build a custom home in the Collingwood or Blue Mountain areas, contact L. Patten and Sons today - we’ve been creating high-quality custom homes for 60 years!
Updated Regulations For Residential Solar Panels Ontario
The End of the Green Energy Act
The microFIT Program fell under the Green Energy Act and supported the development of small or “micro” renewable electricity generation projects (10 kilowatts (kW) or less in size), such as residential solar panels in Ontario. Participants were paid a guaranteed price over a 20-year term for the electricity they produced and delivered to the province’s electricity grid.
Guaranteed prices were designed to:
Cover the costs of a typical project
Earn a reasonable rate of return on the investment over the term of the contract.
The Provincial government, however, pledged to “stop sweetheart deals by scrapping the Green Energy Act.” That prompted a few changes that are relevant to the installation of solar panels, including the following:
If the property owner pays residential rates for hydro, then NO ground mounted solar will be allowed
ALL panels must mount to the roof or wall of a building
This building may not exist for the primary purpose of acting as a support for the panels
Residential solar panels in Ontario can be installed on any building, as long as its purpose is not solely to provide a base for them.
If you're building a custom home on a property that's amenable to solar, you should design the home to take full advantage of the 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.
We understand the appeal of putting solar panels of a ground-mounted unit was to maintain the desired look of your home, but fear not! Custom home designers are more than able to fit them in seamlessly, keeping your home attractive while also having a modern, attractive look.
If you're building a custom home on a property that's amenable to solar power, design the home to take full advantage of the sun.
The Benefits of Net Metering
Net metering is a ”billing mechanism that pays solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.”
As a net metering customer, you will generate your own solar electricity during the day, use what you need to meet the requirements of your custom home, inject the rest into the electricity grid, and consumes from the grid when the solar is unavailable. You are only billed for the net electricity you use.
If you generate more than you use in a month, you will receive a credit to apply against next month’s bill. If the solar system generates less than you use, you will see a charge on their bill.
Here’s how net metering works in Ontario.
Yes, the cost of installing residential solar panels in Ontario is not insignificant. According to the Ontario Energy Board, the average Ontario household consumes about 9,000 kWhs of electricity per year.
What that means for your wallet is 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," per Ontario Solar Installers.
At present, the general payback period for an appropriately-sized residential solar system is 8-10 years, so while the investment up front is substantial, the benefits should last well beyond the payback period.
In many cases it is both a sound financial and environmental decision, especially if you’re building a custom home and can easily incorporate solar panels right from the design phase.
If you have further questions, read "Should I add solar panels to my home in Ontario?"
For more on net metering, watch this handy video!
Residential Solar Panels Ontario: Work With The Professionals At L. Patten
Why consider solar panels for your custom home build? For starters, it’s the environmentally-friendly route!
By incorporating solar panels into your new custom home, you will greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy is clean and renewable, and you will be helping the environment 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.
A custom home in the Collingwood or Blue Mountains 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.
Great process from start to finish. Very experienced and informative work force. We appreciated the attention to detail and all our requests were listened to and acted upon. An excellent quality build carried out by excellend trades. We are thrilled with our dream home. Thanks L Patten & Sons (Jerry, David, Jamie etc).
- Kevin and Gillian Marchant
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.