|Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQ)|
Photovoltaics or PV is a semiconductor based technology that converts solar radiation directly into direct current (DC) electricity.
Please refer to this Guide on the Kilowatt Hour.
PV panels convert sunlight into DC electricity. An inverter changes the DC electricity into Alternating Current (AC) electricity. AC is the form of electricity that is used in your homes. The AC is then fed through a revenue meter into the general electrical grid (e.g. Guelph Hydro, Hydro One). This is a grid-tied system and one that does not require batteries.
What are the benefits of using PV Solar Systems?
A PV system generates electricity without releasing greenhouse gases. PV systems also produce power at the peak demand time in the summer helping to ease the strain on our electricity grid. PV systems can last for more than 40 years and are a sound financial investment.
What are the payment rates for MicroFIT projects?
As of 2012, the ontario government will pay 54.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for rooftop microFIT projects and 44.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for ground-mounted microFIT projects. (Click HERE for more info on MicroFIT).
Are There Rebates Or Financial Incentives?
The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program launched in Oct 2009 will pay a premium for any electricity produced by a PV system. The program offering consist of the FIT Program for systems over 10KW up to 10MW available to anyone, and the MicroFIT program for systems under 10KW and available to individuals and select other groups. The FIT programs also provide a lengthy contract guaranteeing you get paid for all the electricity you produce.
Do your systems meet the Domestic Content Requirements of the FIT program?
Yes- we guarantee that our installed systems meet the FIT requirements. SolarG manufactures a custom racking system, which, in addition to the installation and electrical portions, provides domestic content of 60% which meets all requirements set by the government.
Does My House Have to Face South?
Not necessarily exactly south. PV systems facing southeast to southwest can deliver optimal production. Several factors such as tilt, sun exposure, and location also affect energy production. Shading is the second most important factor.
How Do I Maintain My Solar PV System?
How long will my PV System last for?
Solar PV panels are typically expected to last for 40 to 60 years.
How Do I Know if My System is Working?
The inverter, the component that converts the DC from the panels to the grid voltage and frequency of AC, has a display that will provides system status and statistics. As well, the Hydro Revenue Meter will also tell you what production is on an on-going basis. You can also add a monitoring system with PC and web interfaces for even more tracking, monitoring, and logging capability.
How long has Solar PV technology been around?
The photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by nineteen-year-old Edmund Becquerel, a French experimental physicist, and the photoconductivity of selenium was discovered in 1873. Einstein explained the effect in 1923, and in 1951 the single-crystal cell of germanium was first developed. In 1954 Bell Labs discovered 4.5% efficient silicon solar cells, and the efficiency has been improving ever since. Currently the best mass-production modules can produce electricity at 19% efficiency or more.
What if it is not producing enough electricity for my needs?
All of the power produced in a grid-connected system is delivered to the grid. It is always able to take whatever power you are able to generate. Under the FIT, you do not have to sell power to the grid if you don’t want to or are unable to. Your own household usage is independent of the grid-connected system. For an off-grid system, batteries can be provided during times of lower PV generation, such as at night or on cloudy days in the winter.
What if the system is producing more electricity than my needs?
With a grid-connected system all power is fed into the grid. For an off-grid system the charge controllers limit the power by raising the voltage closer to the open circuit voltage, harmlessly reducing production.
How much does a PV system cost?
Typically grid-connected systems cost from $6 to $9 per watt, depending upon the size. Trackers are approximately 25%- 30% more. Commercial flat roof systems are available as well. All systems are custom designed and priced to meet your specific needs. Please call for an assessment and quote.