Ask and Learn About Solar Power
What is a Grid Tie System?
A Grid Tied Solar system is an installation that is directly connected to the grid (i.e. BC Hydro/Fortis to share excess power that a Solar Array generates).
What is Net Metering? Do I need it?
Net Metering is the process in which your electrical utility allows you to sell your excess electricity back to them. It is necessary if you want to have a solar system without batteries (which we highly recommend).
Check out the Net Metering pages for:
- BC Hydro
- Fortis BC
What about going off grid?
While the idea of going off grid and being completely free of the grip of your electricity provider sounds ideal, in reality it just adds a costly expense of batteries that require careful monitoring and eventual replacement. It is possible to pay almost $0.00 in annual electrical bills through using the grid to store your excess power, whilst eliminating the need for batteries and careful energy use monitoring.
What happens in the wintertime? When there’s snow?
When we talk about energy creation in Canada, we talk about it on an annual basis. The majority of the power you create will come in the minimally snowy months between March and October. The time between November and February can be called bonus energy months due to shorter days, longer shadows, and of course snowfall. Snow doesn’t have to be the end of your winter collection days though, a simple brush with a broom, or push with a shovel to clear away the fresh snowfall will keep your modules collecting energy all winter long.
How about cloud cover? Does it have to be sunny?
Bright, crisp sunny days are the best days for solar collection. But just because the sun hasn’t broke through the clouds doesn’t mean your panels aren’t producing power. Cloudy days still produce power (the brighter the better) but as long as it's daylight hours, you’ll still be pushing watts back into your home.
Does it have to go on my roof?
No it doesn’t! Although rooftop solar is the most popular, Ground mounted systems can be a better option if you have the space for them. They are often more efficient than rooftop solar, and some installations can be easily adjusted to the time of year to optimise solar collection. They are also much easier to clean off in the wintertime, to ensure your producing power all year long.
What kind of maintenance should I expect?
Very little! Occasionally the panels can get dirty from birds and dust, but for the most part they are self cleaning with regular rainfalls. It is not out of the question to go up once a year to wash and inspect the modules, to ensure peak production throughout the Summer months. With no moving parts, Solar installations have very little which can go wrong, which is why you often see long warranty periods of up to 25 years for the equipment.
What is the Process for a site analysis?
- An online site assessment can be done via Google Earth and your home address. We can assess your rooftop for proper orientation, major shading items and get a good idea of weather your home would be great candidate for solar.
- After our online assessment, we would be happy to come and perform a site analysis. The goals of a site analysis are as follows:
- To obtain accurate measurements of your rooftop or location to size and design the system based on your energy needs.
- To inspect your electrical system and discuss the options and routing for the interconnection of the system.
- To perform a shading analysis to determine the best possible location for production.
- After the assessment we provide a no-surprise-all-in quote for you that includes all of the materials, labour and permits for you to generate your own electricity and save you money.
- If you are in the process of new construction, it’s even easier. We can create our layouts and design right from your drawings. Just email us your drawings and we can design your system from that. The earlier stages in construction we are involved in, the better you can save money through design and labor.
Call 250-801-9464 or email us to discuss your project today.
What is the process for a complete solar install?
- The first stop is a solar assessment. We will get your home address or building plans and make an estimate on energy production and location.
- An in-person site assessment is then required to get a more accurate view of your home to determine specific locations, interconnection requirements and shade anaylsis.
- A system design and no surprise quote is offered that includes all costs needed for you to be producing your own power.
- Permits and Net Metering are obtained by Okanagan Solar to ensure everything is done right and you are able to send power back to the grid as soon as your system is installed.
- Installation is done by our skilled and trained team in as little as 1 day depending on the size and scope of your system.
- Commissioning is performed and manuals are distributed to ensure that you have everything you need and all your questions have been answered.
It's that easy! Call 250-801-9464 or email us