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residential_300x250The cost of PV keeps has come down substantially. Now, solar can compete with any other form of electrical generation. So, why don’t we just convert to solar based off grid? Off-grid solar is a system designed to help people function without the support of electrical infrastructure – utility’s electrical grid. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services.

The sun doesn’t always shine. Nightfall, clouds, storms and seasonal variability in number of daylight hours make solar PV an intermittent source of power. The intermittency of solar makes it challenging to off-grid. So how feasible is it for the average household in GTA to go off grid – and is it really worth it? The short answer is that unless your electricity usage is minimal, it’s not very easy to disconnect from the grid and still have all the comforts you are used to. Even with the cost of solar and energy storage having fallen as much as they have, installing a stand-alone solar system really only makes sense if you are in a home where getting grid-connected is something you would have to pay for.

If you are in a major urban centers like GTA, deciding whether or not to truly get off the grid should be something you consider very carefully. To do so, you will either have to significantly change the way that you use electricity or spend a significant amount of money on a solar-plus-storage system large enough to get you through a cold, dark winter.
So at this time best options available for people in urban centers like GTA is to participate in programs like Micro FIT or Net Metering programs offered by the utilities. However, as the cost of utility power continues to rise, going off-grid will become justified in urban centers too.


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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator is preparing to switch incentive program from current Feed in Tariff program to Net Metering Program in 2017 hence it is important to understand the difference between these two programs.

Most grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) solar systems today have no equipment for storing the electricity generated by their rooftop solar energy systems to use later in the night and depend on the utility grid for its operation. Hence your solar power system under both feed in tariff program and net metering program do not need any kind of storage to operate.

With Feed in Tariff program, you sell all the electricity generated by your solar power system to the utility at higher price than you pay for the electricity when you consume. And you continue to buy all the electricity you need for your home from the utility at the lower retail price than the price paid under Feed in Tariff program. Because you are continuing to buy your electricity from the utility you do not need to have storage to store and use the electricity at night.

With net metering program when your solar panels produce electricity, it goes first to powering the lights, appliances and electronics in your home used at that time. If your solar power system produces less electricity than you need or if you need energy when the sun isn’t shining at all, that power is automatically supplied from the utility grid. If your solar power system produces more electricity than you need, the extra electricity is send back to the utility grid and you get credited for the electricity you send back to the grid at the same retail price that you pay for the electricity you consume from the grid.

With net metering, the homeowner is only billed for the “net” electricity used each month, that is, the difference between the energy produced by the solar power system and the energy consumed by the house over the monthly billing period. If your solar power system produces more than you consume in a billing cycle, you get credit and this credit is carry forward to next billing cycle and so on. Under the Net metering program offered in most jurisdictions any credit you accumulated must be used with in a calendar year. Ontario government along with IESO is currently formulating the rules for the Net metering program and it is commonly expected that this rule will also prevail in Ontario.

We have made an effort to explain the difference between these two programs, if it is still not clear to you or have other questions or would like to get a free solar assessment of your property do not hesitate to contact us.


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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.



Federal, provincial governments offer incentives to encourage homeowners to switch to solar power. The solar incentives vary by province, Ontario government’s current incentive – Feed in tariff pays premium for the solar electricity for 20 year. And the federal government allows solar system owners to get 100% HST rebate and depreciate their solar energy system at 50% rate.

Ontario government’s feed in tariff incentive program set to end in 2017 and replaced by Net metering program. Contrast to Feed in Tariff program, under Net Metering program, whenever the solar system is generating more electricity than you actually can use, the system is designed to send the solar electricity into the grid and you receive a credit for the energy your system is pushing onto the grid.


The most immediate effects solar power system owners will see are no or lower utility bills. Once you hit the point where your solar panels have paid for themselves, its real savings straight to the bank after that. With utility rates climbing regularly, each year you’ll save more with solar than the year before. However, the long-term advantage of solar energy is energy independence. Once the upfront costs for the system are paid, there is no longer a need to worry about the availability or price of energy as long as the system is running – you are the energy provider.


Buying a home with solar panels directly translates into additional income or lower electricity costs. Just like homes in preferred school districts or homes with good Home Energy Ratings, solar panels will increase a home’s attractiveness on the market. A study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley Labs in US clearly shows that your home’s value will increase by $4000.00 for every kilo watt of solar powers. The exact numbers vary from property to property and installation to installation, but an average increase in resale value being $4000.00 for each one kilowatt (kW) of solar power installed. The property value advantages of solar energy only increase as you scale up. It’s important to note that these statistics only apply to today’s housing prices and utility rates. As electricity prices go up (as they most certainly will), the advantages of solar energy rise as well.


Modern solar-electric systems are built to withstand normal and seasonal environmental conditions with little to no maintenance. Operating and maintenance (O&M) involves preventative routines mostly defined by inspections, both periodic and after significant events, such as storms. Owners of residential and small scale installations often can perform these inspections themselves. We freely educate our customers on low risk routines. Local conditions, such as winds, dust and birds will determine the frequency. We include monitoring system with each and every solar power system we sell. Monitoring system will help the owner of the system to keep a close eye on the solar power system and take an appropriate action when needed.


Yes, this is the most important benefit of installing solar panels. While generating electricity solar panels do not create any waste or emissions. Unlike coal or diesel power plants, solar power system produce clean, renewable energy from a fuel source that requires no locating, excavation, transportation, or combustion. Solar power is as reliable as the sun – shining again and again for thousands of years. Last but not least, solar also grants energy independence, since the fuel for solar panels is the sun’s energy and is available everywhere and it is free for everyone.

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