FAQ – Solar
There is a lot to know about the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) MicroFit and FIT program opportunities. Find answers for most of your questions about becoming an energy generating partner here in the FAQ section. If you would like further explanations or clarification on any query you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact a Hayter Solar Specialist, we’re always happy to help.
You can also listen to a recent radio show we did answering many great questions about solar energy and the IESO Solar Program.
Click here to listen to a podcast from 570News in Kitchener.
Learn more about how the Renewable Energy Program Works:
Is now the right time to go solar?
- Because of the Ontario Feed-In-Tariff program now is the best time for people to invest in solar energy. It is true that the cost of a solar system is always coming down, however the rate paid under the MicroFit and FIT programs will also be declining.
What is the Feed-in Tariff or FIT program?
- The FIT program allows you to sell the solar power you generate to the electricity grid at a pre-determined rate per kWh.
What are the considerations for locating my solar panels?
- Current and future shading on your panels from chimneys, trees and other buildings, as well as being able to get the proper orientation of your panels toward the sun.
Is my investment guaranteed?
- Your decision to investment in Ontario’s FIT and MicroFit guarantees you a fixed rate of return for every kWh your system produces for the next 20 years.
What happens at the end of my contract?
- At the end of your 20 year contract you can use the energy from your panels for your own personal use or re-sign with the IESO at a new rate
Will the rules change during the contract?
- The rate you are contracted to receive from IESO will be locked in for 20 years. These rates will be offered for a limited time only.
How often do I get paid?
- You will receive payment at the same frequency you currently receive your bills from your local hydro distributor.
Can I back out of my contract?
- Yes. There are no fees or penalties for terminating your contract; however, you will no longer receive payments for power generated from your renewable energy system following termination.
What if I sell my property?
- The contract with IESO is completely transferable to the new owner, and will definitely add value to your property. If you wish to take your project with you to your new residence, your existing contract will be terminated and you have the option of applying for a new contract once the project is connected at your new residence.
- Recent studies in both Colorado and California, conclude that revenue producing solar panel systems add value to your home.
Who is responsible for maintenance, repairs and warranty?
- One of the greatest advantages of solar power is that there is very minimal maintenance. With no moving parts, typical maintenance consists of spraying the panels down with a hose to remove any dirt. Most reputable companies will want to handle all repairs to ensure consistency and quality of the systems. Warranty items are also the responsibility of the original installer in partnership with the equipment manufacturer.
Are we too far North to generate meaningful solar power?
- Ontario has enough annual solar radiation to be considered an excellent site for solar. In fact many international solar companies are planning to build several large scale solar farms here in Ontario.
Do I get paid for all of the electricity I produce or just what I don’t use myself?
- Under the FIT and MicroFIT programs you get paid for all electricity produced. All electricity produced is fed back to the grid and measured through a new meter. Electricity consumed is measured through your existing meter and billed at the going rate.
Is my roof strong enough to support a PV system?
- Before installing a rooftop solar system you will need engineering approval, stating that your roof is strong enough to support the added load. This engineering approval will be required to apply for a (mandatory) building permit. A roof inspection will also be required to determine if the shingles or roof covering need to be replaced.
How well do Solar Modules work in inclement weather?
- On a cloudy day solar modules produce less electricity than on a sunny day. Under a light overcast, modules produce about half as much electricity as under full sun. If modules become covered with snow they will stop producing power but generally the snow melts quickly as soon as the sun strikes the modules. If you brush the snow off they will start producing electricity immediately.
Are PV solar electric systems safe?
- Yes. Solar cells are mostly silicon, the primary component of sand. There is no exhaust and no toxic materials to leak out of the system. The electricity coming through the inverter is just like the electricity coming from household wall sockets; you should use the same care you would with utility power. All components are approved for utility interconnection and are installed according to standard construction practices.
How does shade affect the performance of a PV Solar system?
- One of the leading causes of power loss in a solar PV system is when part of a panel or array becomes shaded. Normally the panels are connected in strings so the output of that particular string of panels will only be as great as the lowest performing panel. Therefore a solar installation should be designed in such a way that none of the panels are even partially shaded at any point of the year.
Do Solar panels have to face south?
- Panels facing south at the correct tilt angle will provide the maximum output. However, solar panels can face anywhere between East and West and still perform quite well. A properly conducted site assessment can estimate output for any orientation or tilt angle.
How long will a solar panel system last?
- Solar panels have been known to last 40 years and longer. Typical solar panel guarantees are from 5 to 7 years on materials and workmanship (under normal use and service conditions), with power output warranties of 80% at 25 years. Solar panels are designed to withstand golf ball sized hail and the mounting systems are engineered to withstand the most severe wind and weather conditions.
What are the maintenance costs of a PV solar system?
- For a fixed/stationary (non tracker) ground or roof mounted system, there is literally no maintenance required. Some consideration may be given to periodic inspections of the panels to remove bird droppings and dirt accumulations etc.
Do I pay HST on my Solar Panel Installation?
- Yes, you pay 13% HST on your solar panels and all installation costs.
- Many people that invest in solar panels will voluntarily register for the HST. This is a simple process. It allows you to recoup the HST paid on your system. It requires you to collect HST on the revenue you generate and remit this to the government.
- You can learn more about the tax implications for generating solar energy by visiting this link.
- You should consult a tax professional or an accountant for advice on the HST.
Is my Solar Energy income taxable?
- Yes, you must declare income you collect from your solar panels on your income tax return.
- You can also deduct expenses such as depreciation on your solar panel installation, or interest on a loan to finance the system.
- Visit this link to learn more about the tax implications of a solar panel system.
- You should consult a tax professional or an accountant for advice on reporting your solar income and expenses.