What is the Solar Energy System (PV Panels)?
Panels for solar energy system or Photovoltaic panels — also called solar panels or PV panels — use semiconductors to convert the sun's energy into electricity.
Today's PV cells can convert roughly 15 per cent of the solar energy that hits them into electricity. Although they produce much less energy during winter, when less solar energy is available, they can still generate a significant amount on a bright sunny January day.
In solar energy system panels can be either stand-alone systems or connected to the power grid. Small stand-alone PV panels are a simple way to generate electricity away from the grid: to power electric fences or pump water, for example.
To increase the electricity yield, panels can be attached to tracking units that keep them aimed at the sun as it moves through the sky.
Is Solar Energy System Right for Me ?Are there any government rebates?
Solar panels can be installed on the ground or on a roof. For roof-mounted systems to work well, you'll need clear southern exposure from at least 10 am to 3 pm. The roof should face within 10 per cent of south and the slope ideally should be greater than 30 per cent.
Conventional solar panels attached right to the roof (with no adjustments to change angle) add about 5 lbs per ft of loading. An engineer should be retained to ensure the building is capable of handling this additional loading for solar energy system.
Grid capacity is also required to accept the power. Permission from the local electrical distribution authority to connect should be obtained before construction commences.
For example, a homeowner in Ontario would be looking at a residential scale solar energy system project of about 3 kilowatts, which costs around $25,000. The returns with the Ontario Micro FIT program will be approx. $3000.00 of revenue per year, resulting in about an 8 to 9 year payback. The most rewarding part of the FIT program is that OPA will pay this estimated returns for a contracted period of 20 years.
To qualify for the Micro FIT program installations can be no larger than 10kWw systems.
Larger installations fall into the FIT program at a different return per watt.
Link to OPA Fee-in Tariff Program. http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca
You will also be eligible for the RST(Retail Sales Tax) rebate paid on the purchase of the solar energy system by the Ministry of Revenue.
Solar Energy System Advantages
Saves you money
After the initial investment has been recovered, the energy from the sun is practically FREE.
The recovery/ payback period for this investment can be very short depending on how much electricity your household uses.
If your system produces more energy than you use, your utility company can buy it from you, building up a credit on your account!
It will save you money on your electricity bill if you have one at all.
Solar energy does not require any fuel.
It's not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is therefore not subjected to the ever-increasing price of gasoline.
The savings are immediate and for many years to come.
The use of solar energy indirectly reduces health costs.
Solar Energy System : Environmentally friendly
Solar Energy System is clean, renewable (unlike gas, oil and coal) and sustainable, helping to protect our environment.
It does not pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generation does.
Therefore Solar Energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
It actively contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
It's generated where it is needed.
By not using any fuel, Solar Energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.
Solar Energy System : Independent/ semi-independent
Solar Energy System can be utilized to offset utility-supplied energy consumption. It does not only reduce your electricity bill, but will also continue to supply your home/ business with electricity in the event of a power outage.
A Solar Energy system can operate entirely independently, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations (like holiday log cabins), making it more practical and cost-effective than the supply of utility electricity to a new site.
The use of Solar Energy reduces our dependence on foreign and/or centralized sources of energy, influenced by natural disasters or international events and so contributes to a sustainable future.
Low/ no maintenance
Solar Energy systems are virtually maintenance free and will last for decades.
Once installed, there are no recurring costs.
They operate silently, have no moving parts, do not release offensive smells and do not require you to add any fuel.
More solar panels can easily be added in the future when your family's needs grow.
Solar Energy System Disadvantages
The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
The cost of solar energy is also high compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. As energy shortages are becoming more common, solar energy is becoming more price-competitive.
Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun, although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components.
The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem
What are the factors for pricing your solar energy system?
1. How many solar panels do you need?
The answer is based on your current and future electrical usage. It also depends on what type of PV panels you use. Some panels are more energy-efficient, therefore, you will use fewer panels of this type.
Some factors to take into consideration are:
Do you use air-conditioning?
Are you going to add a hot tub?
Are you going to add more people to your family?
Are you going to start your own internet business and have servers located on your premises?
2. How many inverters do you need?
Inverters come in different sizes and are based on the size of your solar power system. You will usually need one inverter, however, there are times when two inverters are necessary. This depends on the brand of the panels used and how many strings (of panels) each inverter can handle.
3. What type of mounting system is being used?
Is your solar power system going to be on a roof, on the ground, on a shade structure, etc.? This will be determined by the amount of roof space, sun exposure, your electric usage, and your preference . If you need to build a structure for the solar power system, it will increase the cost.
This shall be determined by our professional engineers to assess and verify if your existing roof structure is capable of supporting the extra load or not. in some cases we design reinforcement for your roof for the extra load.
These are the major factors used to determine what size system you need and how much it will cost. We always recommend that you buy a solar power system that is sized to your needs. Don't build too small or too big.
Building Codes and Regulations for Solar Energy
Before installing a solar energy system, you should investigate local building codes,
zoning ordinances, and subdivision covenants, as well as any special regulations
pertaining to the site. You will need a building permit to install a solar energy
system onto an existing building. you must comply with existing building and permit procedures
to install your system.
The matter of building code and zoning compliance for a solar system installation is
typically a local issue. Common problems homeowners have encountered
with building codes include the following:
Exceeding roof load
Unacceptable heat exchangers
Unlawful tampering with potable water supplies.
Potential zoning issues include these:
Erecting unlawful protrusions on roofs
Siting the system too close to streets or lot boundaries.
Special area regulations—such as local community, subdivision, or,…