Frequently Asked Questions
Does solar work when our power is out?
The solar systems we install are grid-tied, meaning that they rely on the grid to operate. They do not work when the power in your house or business goes out.
Are batteries required for solar systems?
No. Batteries are not required for grid-connected solar systems to operate. Grid-connected solar systems export excess solar energy to the local electrical grid, and you are credited for this on your bill.
What about the new home battery systems, do they work with solar?
Home battery systems such as the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen offer batteries that can store electricity from the grid or a grid-connected solar system, so that it can be used later.
They are not connected directly to the solar system, such as in an off-grid solar application. Instead, they connect to your buildings main breaker panel, being charged by the grid alone or by your grid-connected solar system on sunny days. The batteries can then be used as back up power in the event of a power outage or to use stored solar energy in the evenings. Ask us if these home battery systems are right for you.
Will I still receive an electricity bill after installing solar?
Having a grid-connected solar system requires you to have a utility grid connection. This means that after installing a solar system, you will still receive a monthly electricity bill, but you will be credited for the excess solar electricity that was exported to the local electrical grid.
This amount is tracked by a two-direction utility meter installed by your local line owner (e.g. Fortis, ATCO). Solar systems will not eliminate your electricity bill charges, because you will need to draw power at times when the solar system does not operate. Most solar energy is produced between April and September in Canada, and thus your bills will be the lowest in these months.
How does snow impact solar energy production?
Snow does reduce the production of a solar system, as it can shade the solar panels. However, research has shown that snow only reduces annual solar energy production by less than 10% on low slope installations. The higher angle that solar is installed on, the fewer snow effects the annual production from the system.
For this reason and safety concerns, cleaning the snow off of solar panels is not required.
Should I replace my roof before installing solar?
Solar systems will last upwards of 35 years and are installed over top of existing roofing material. The roofing material under the solar array will not degrade as quickly as the exposed roofing. If your roofing is 5-10 years old, we recommend having your roof examined by a roofing professional prior to installing a solar array so that its service life can be assessed.
In some cases, roof replacement prior to solar installation is an economical choice as the solar system will need to be removed if roofing needs to be replaced at a later point in time.
Are there any incentive programs available from the government?
Yes, the Change Homes for Climate Solar Program. The City is offering Edmontonians $0.40/watt towards the cost of their solar PV system, which is roughly 15% of the cost of going solar! Contact Us if you would like to learn more about this program and whether you qualify for the incentive.