FAQ

Will solar work on my home site?

An ideal site for solar:

  • faces true south
  • has 100% access to the sun, year round
  • allows a solar array to tilt up to an angle equal to site’s latitude
  • has close proximity to a grid connection point

Very few homes are perfectly “ideal”, but many will benefit from a solar system. We will evaluate all of these factors during the assessment process and provide you with a full report.

How much space do I need for a solar system?

1 square foot of a photovoltaic module will produce roughly 12 watts of power. You can use that basic rule to calculate how much area you need. We will give you more specifics when we do the on-site assessment.

My roof needs replacing soon... should we combine the installations?

Yes. If you’re planning on replacing your roof in the next few years, it makes sense to do that at the same time you are getting the solar installation. Solar modules will last over 40 years, but it is better to not have to remove them to replace roofing in the future.

How long will my system last?

Solar modules last 30-40+ years when installed properly and checked periodically. The other major part of the system is the inverter, which typically lasts 10-15 years. Some systems make use of micro-inverters that can last up to 25 years before they need replacing.

Will I have power if the electricity grid goes down?

No, if the utility grid goes down, your solar system will also shut down. This is to comply with safety regulations.

Is the price of solar going to drop?

Solar module pricing may have bottomed out for now. The price has been driven down to the point that many module manufacturers have gone out of business. Long term, simply due to economies of scale and advanced tech, prices should get lower still, but at a much slower rate than you have seen in the past few years.

Do I have to clean my solar modules?

Modules need a small amount of maintenance. Usually rain will do most of the cleaning (of dirt, dust, bird droppings, etc). Very rarely, regular cleaning may be needed if certain trees are near, or their are spraying operations or soot. You should periodically check your solar array to make sure nothing is covering it.

Does snow affect solar panels?

A layer of snow can reduce your solar output to zero. The months with snow are also the lowest production months. Manually clearing snow can help you squeeze in some extra kiloWatt hours from your solar system, but that will vary depending on your site and system.

Can hail wreck my solar panels?

It is very unlikely. Panels are made with tempered glass that is rated for 1” hail at 88 kph. Most modules are also set at an angle that reduces the chance of a direct hail hit.

If I produce excess energy, do I get something from my utility company?

The utilities will give you a credit on your bill. Some will pay you extra for energy produced. These companies include Alberta Cooperative Energy (ACE), Park Power, and EQUS.

Do I need special insurance?

Not usually. Standard homeowner’s insurance generally covers electric utility requirements.

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