Solar power subsidy… part 3 and the conclusion of my application.

Solar power…. those words make me think of green energy.. no more smoke stacks… electric cars, no nuclear power plants..etc…    These were some of the reasons I applied to get my own home approved for the Ontario Government’s Microfit subsidy program.   Oh, that and the $0.805/ KwH that I would be earning… a $0.70/KwH profit… Sounds like a no-branier, but would that be enough of an incentive for me to go through with the purchase?

Three months ago, I began the process of applying to the Ontario Power Authority for approval to the Microfit program and was approved.   I applied for approval to the Local Distributor Company (LDC local hydro company)..in my case it was Burlington Hydro.   They sent out an Engineer to ensure my house would qualify….. good news is that I was approved…  Everything was set.  I just needed to get a site assessment for my our peace of mind to see if my house was positioned correctly to take advantage of the sun’s rays.

I contacted an installer and supplier… They did a free site assessment…(most installers and suppliers wanted to charge me a fee)…  My house was not positioned to achieve optimum efficiency…. I would achieve only achieve 72% efficiency out of a recommended 90%…. Cost to install 30 high-end panels would be $45k.    My expected annual return would be around $5,500.

End result…it would take me almost 10 years to recover my investment… but then again, I would have that 20 year govt contract selling my power at $0.805/Kwh compared with paying $0.11/KwH…

So after several dozen hours spent researching, applying, meeting with inspectors, installers, etc and 3 months later, my decision is to not move forward with the install.   There are many reasons but it seems to me that we still don’t know what effect this would have on the value of our homes…. Will prospective buyers like the panels in 3, 5, or 10 years?   Will the panels be out of date when I go to sell?   There just seems to be too many unanswered questions at this time…

The installer told me that my approval from OPA is good for 12 months… and maybe the price of the panels will drop enough that it could make sense for me to get the installation done…. but right now, a 10 year payback it way too long….   I’ll update you further should I have any new information…

My advice to anyone that is looking to participate is to do your research… there is a lot of data to be digested…  Buy Canadian… don’t just go with the lowest cost panels… buy quality.. we have some harsh weather in Ontario… Contact the Canadian Solar Industries Association for some referrals…. seek out a reputable installer and supplier… Get recommendations directly from the manufacturer….

If you want more info, just drop me a line and I’d be happy to share more details of my research.

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