How to use SaskPower incentives to get solar for basically nothing…seriously

Smart folks across Saskatchewan are figuring out how to use two SaskPower programs to get solar on their homes and businesses at no long-term cost.

SaskPower wants you to get solar – it takes pressure off their system and helps them get closer to their goal of producing power from 50% renewables by 2030.

So they are encouraging you to get solar with two main programs. And when you combine those two programs, your system ends up costing you…well…nothing.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Use SaskPower’s 20% system cost rebate to more than pay for your financing cost

SaskPower, Saskatoon Light & Power and City of Swift Current electricity customers are all eligible to receive a one-time rebate, equivalent to 20% of costs on a solar power system.

That’s the deal. So say you don’t have the cash for a system so you need to finance one (that’s most people). No problem.

That 20% rebate means on a system that costs $12,000, for example, you’ll get $2400 back!

That more than pays for any financing costs.

And don’t worry, friendly TruGreen Energy staff will help you with financing options and we do all the boring paperwork to ensure you get that 20% rebate.

Boom! Financing costs covered. But, of course, you’ll want to pay off that loan. Proceed to step 2.

2. Use massive savings in your power bill to consistently pay off the loan via SaskPower’s Net Metering Program

Most of our clients see their power bills cut in half or eliminated all together, consistently.

That’s because TruGreen Energy is a SaskPower Energy Efficiency Partner and our systems are tied to the grid using SaskPower’s Net Metering Program.

When your system produces more power than you consume (typical from April-September), it goes back into the SaskPower grid and you get credit for that!

So in the winter months when power production is lower, you can use those credits to keep that bill very low.

Let’s say your power bill is roughly $130 per month right now, but after installing solar that bill is more like $30. Why not use that $100 saved each month to pay off the loan?

That’s $1200 each year in loan payments and over 10 years your $12,000 system is paid fully from cash saved on your power bill. That’s pretty cool.

And then after that, you get your power for very cheap or free while everyone else is taking rate hikes.

_________

All in all, you get a system that pays for itself with the following benefits:

  1. Becoming immune to power rate hikes
  2. Cutting your power bill in half or eliminating it altogether
  3. Increasing the value of your home
  4. Going green. Emissions = ZERO

It’s no wonder so many people are now getting solar.

More questions? Check out our Top 10 Solar Questions blog.

OR GIVE US A CALL AT 1- 833-TGSOLAR OR 1-833-847-6527.

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

Top 10 Most Common Solar Questions that are Snow Problem to Answer

Hey Saskatchewan! Got questions on solar? We’ve got you covered.

Solar is a proven technology that is rapidly expanding across the globe. In many European countries, integrating solar systems with new builds and retrofitting is the norm.

That’s because solar power is cheaper to produce than other forms of energy, has ZERO emissions and it works.

Now, for Saskatchewan and Canada, it has never been easier and more attractive to add solar to your home, business, farm or municipal building.

You can own a system for $0 down, there are generous rebates from government and you can cut your power bill in half or eliminate it altogether.

 

 

 

 

Of course, how this all works comes with some questions. So, let’s dive in.

QUESTION 1: WILL SOLAR PANELS WORK IN COOL AND SNOWY CLIMATES?

Short answer: Yup.

In fact, Regina is ranked as the #1 location in all of Canada and #6 in the world for solar potential – beating out places like Sydney, Australia.

The reason for that is solar panels convert light, not heat, into energy. Too much heat can actually reduce output efficiency by 10-25% depending on the installation and temperatures.

So, places like Saskatchewan, that have cooler temperatures and lead the world in sunny days, are among the top spots on earth for solar.

Solar panels also work well in ambient light, and produce sufficient energy on overcast days.

As for snow, solar panels will not produce power if covered in heavy snow. However, most panels are tilted at an angle and snow will slide off the slippery surface on its own accord.

What ends up happening is you over produce power in the spring, summer and fall which builds up credits with SaskPower from selling back to the grid (known as the Net Metering Program) that you can spend in the winter months when efficiency is lower.

QUESTION 2: DO SOLAR PANELS REQUIRE MAINTENANCE?

Solar panels have no moving parts and do not require regular maintenance. We do recommend that you hose off the panels once a year or so, but rain (or snow) will often take care of that job for you. So, thanks mother nature!

Of course, if any large debris falls onto the panels it is recommended that you remove it.

As an added bonus, TruGreen solar systems come with monitoring software that allows you to monitor your panel production and check for drops in efficiency on your computer or mobile device – and that’s pretty neat.

QUESTION 3: SOLAR WILL GET MORE EFFICIENT, SO SHOULD I WAIT?

Any piece of technology that we use today will always have little improvements made as time passes.

However, solar is already very efficient. Our panels produce power at less than what SaskPower is charging today and most of our clients cut their power bills cut in half or completely eliminate them altogether.

Your SaskPower bill has gone up 12% in less than two years with more hikes expected.

Getting solar now means you lock in your power costs at a lower rate for decades to come.

QUESTION 4: WILL I STORE THE EXCESS ENERGY I GENERATE IN BATTERIES?

Nearly all-modern solar panel systems are grid tied, which means they’re connected to the conventional electricity grid.

SaskPower pays for electricity pushed back in the grid through their Net Metering Program, so there really isn’t a need to store power in batteries.

Batteries can still an option for those who really want them, but they are expensive and most clients choose to go without them.

QUESTION 5:  WILL SOLAR PANELS CAUSE MY ROOF TO LEAK, DETERIORATE, OR COLLAPSE?

Solar panels actually protect and preserve the portion of the roof they cover.  They are not attached directly to the roof itself, but rather on a mounted railing system. The sealants used to fill any gaps are the same used to seal commercial flat roofs and come with a 25-year warranty.

Solar Panels have an added benefit in serving as a layer of insulation to your roof, decreasing heat loss in the winter and keeping your house cooler in the summer.

If there is ever a problem with the roof that needs to be repaired, panels can easily be removed. Also, if your roof already leaks or needs to be replaced, it makes sense to take care of those roof repairs first before installing solar panels.

QUESTION 6: AREN’T SOLAR PANELS STILL EXPENSIVE / WILL THEY EVER PAY FOR THEMSELVES?

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate misconceptions we come across is that solar power is only for the “rich” or for those “die-hard environmentalists”. But this simply isn’t true. Many households are now able to go solar for little or no money down. Our financing and payment options have all but eliminated the barrier to entry for solar based on upfront costs.

Solar also is one of the very few household purchases that will actually pay for itself over time, which typically takes 7-10 years.

Our friendly and helpful team at TruGreen Energy can help you figure out what that timeline is for you given your particular circumstances.

It is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to commit to buying enough solar panels to provide all your electrical power needs right from the start.

You can buy a smaller solar system that is sized to meet your current budget now, and then add on to it later.

QUESTION 7: WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT, WILL MY HOME IS STILL POWERED?

When the power goes out, grid-tied systems go out too. That’s because it’s not safe to be pushing electricity back out onto the wires while workers are trying to fix the problem, so your inverter (a box installed near your meter that turns DC electricity created by the panels into usable AC current) recognizes that the grid is out and shuts your system off.  Sorry team, but safety first!

QUESTION 8: WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF THE SOLAR PANELS?

Most panels come with a 25-year warranty, and depending on the panel, they will produce anywhere from 85-90% of their original full production after 25 years. The solar panels will certainly last longer than 25 years, but their production will slowly degrade over time.

QUESTION 9: DOES SASKPOWER CHARGE A FLAT FEE FOR REMAINING HOOKED UP TO THEIR SYSTEM?

For grid tied systems, SaskPower does still charge a basic connection fee. However, this connection fee is well worth it given the Net Metering Program in place, which allows you to over produce power in the spring, summer and fall and use those built up credits in the winter months.

QUESTION 10: WHAT ABOUT WILD WEATHER? CAN THE PANELS WITHSTAND A HAILSTORM?

That’s a great question and the short answer is yes! Solar panels are successfully used in climates much like ours all over the world.

We do recommend purchasing insurance for your solar system though, so that you are covered for situations like baseball size hail or other unforeseen situations like a tree falling and damaging the panels.

That’s all for now!

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? GIVE US A CALL AT 1- 833-TGSOLAR OR 1-833-847-6527.

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

Future Of Solar Feature Image

Saskatchewan’s best kept secret for decades now revealed: SOLAR

Regina is ranked as the #1 location in all of Canada and #6 in the world for solar potential, according to Natural Resources Canada’s 2007 mapping study.

Regina might get the glory in this study, beating out places like Sydney, Australia for solar potential, but all of Saskatchewan is a top-ranked destination for solar.

This may come as a surprise, but solar panels actually work better in cooler climates and Saskatchewan has more hours of sunshine than almost anywhere else. So nice work Saskatchewan!

That means if you have never considered using solar for your home, farm or business, you should.

Why you might ask?

1. Solar technology has never been easier or cheaper to install

In fact, 2/3 of our payment options require $0 money down.

<<<<<<<GET A FREE QUOTE>>>>>>>

 

2. Generous rebates from government (LIMITED TIME OFFER)

If you live in Saskatchewan and apply for net metering before November 30, 2018, you are eligible for a 20% rebate from SaskPower, Saskatoon Light & Power or the City of Swift Current.

The not-so-fine print: rebates are up to $20,000 on eligible costs of a solar power system.

3. Reducing your carbon footprint

Emissions are ZERO. That’s a good number.

4. Save serious money on your power bill as power rates continue climbing

Most of our clients cut their power bills cut in half or completely eliminate them altogether.

That’s because our panels produce power 2-4 cents per KW/H cheaper than SaskPower. So no matter what solar model you select, your bill will go down. That’s good news when you usually just hear about your power bill going up.

CLEANER. CHEAPER. POWER.

Solar is a great option for any community, municipality, business, not-for-profit or homeowner looking to reduce and stabilize their power bills for the foreseeable future.

We know you will have questions, and our friendly staff is here to help.

Ready to learn more?
Get a free quote.

You can also call us at 1- 833-TGSOLAR or 1-833-847-6527.

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

Lumsden goes solar at River Park Centre

At Lumsden’s River Park, people playing at the splash pad or tak- ing in a ball game will no longer be the only ones soaking up the sun. Newly installed solar panels on the River Park Centre roof will also be taking in the rays, helping to power the centre and reducing power costs for the town.

A 10 kW solar system has been in- stalled at the centre by Sunroof En- ergy Corp. Operation of the system began last week.

“It’s a lot of satisfaction, a lot of pride in our community, stepping up and being on the forefront of [renewable energy] for our community” said Lumsden Mayor Bryan Matheson. “I think it’s the wave of the future and we’re happy to have this happen in Lumsden.” The 10kW solar system is expected to generate around 15,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, approximately 54 per cent of the centre’s yearly electricity usage.

Solar panels were installed as part of Sunroof Energy’s Municipal Solar Energy Program. Through the pro- gram, Sunroof provides, installs and maintains the solar system, with the town simply purchasing the produced solar energy.

“[The Municipal Solar Energy Pro- gram] allows municipalities to put solar power on municipally owned buildings without having to come up with any capital,” said Al Simp- son, president of Sunroof Energy Corp. “So the citizens of Lumsden aren’t going to be asked to pay for this. All that’s really required, in this particular case, is the rec. centre solar system will produce solar en-ergy and whatever it produces, the town will pay for at a rate cheaper than they are paying now to Sask- Power.”

Savings in electrical expenses at the River Park Centre are expected to be approximately $21,000 over the lifetime of the solar system. “That’s not insignificant,” said Simpson.

The Sunroof Energy president was unable to disclose information about other municipalities participating in the program, but did say there has been an extreme amount of interest. “We’re excited about it,” he said. The president congratulated the town on having a vision for the future and going forward with a renewable energy system. Matheson explained the River Park Centre project is the first of many, with the town planning to introduce solar energy into other community buildings in the future.

Solar panels adorn the roof of the River Park Centre in Lumsden. The panels, installed by Sunroof Energy Corp., are expected to generate around 15,000-kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, 54 per cent of the River Park Centre’s yearly electricity usage. The panels were turned on last week. Photo by Sarah MacMillan.

 

SaskPower looking to increase rates

SaskPower rates are likely on the way up.

In an announcement Tuesday, the crown corporation said it is making an application to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel to raise rates by five per cent. That would mean another $6 a month for an average customer.

“We know rate increases are not something people enjoy. We’re doing what we can to minimize the impact, focusing on restraint and optimization here at SaskPower,” said CEO Mike Marsh.

Power rates have gone up at least once a year since 2013. As of Jan. 1, 2017, residential customers were paying an average of $22.76 more a month than in 2012.

For seven years in a row, the province has set records for the amount of power needed at one time according to Marsh, adding two power records for peak summer usage were set in August.

“The reality is, as the system continues to grow in the province, despite the economic slowdown we’re seeing continual growth on the electricity side, the continual increase in customers being connected to the grid,” he said.

Five per cent equates to another $124 million a year for the crown.

Capital investment is anticipated to top $1 billion in 2017-18. That includes building and replacing new power poles and transmission lines. Major projects are also in the works over the next several years such as the Regina Bypass, the Pasqua to Swift Current transmission line and the Chinook Power Station.

If SaskPower gets its way, the increase will come into effect March 1, 2018. It has to be approved by both the review panel and the provincial government.

In terms of what kind of impact this proposal may have on Saskatoon Light and Power, Marsh said that company buys its power from the crown and he believes in the past, any increases for that company’s customers have been similar to that of SaskPower’s.

Marsh concedes they will try and keep increases to once per year, what he called moderate increases over the next few years, when necessary.

Meter fires

Marsh was also asked about the recent meter box fires and if they contributed to the reason for the rate increase.

“There’s nothing with respect to the meter fires that are part of this rate application at all,” he insisted.

He estimated the cost of the meter fires to date is in excess of $1 million. That number will grow as more inspections and fixes are made. More than 5,000 homes have been checked said Marsh with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,000 remaining.

SaskPower has chosen to pay for any costs incurred related to the fires.

Source: CJME

Pollution Sunset Smoke

Liberals to outline draft plan for national carbon tax Thursday

The federal government is set to release a discussion paper Thursday outlining how it plans to impose a national carbon tax that will include flexibility for provinces who are at least working towards implementing their own plans, CBC News has learned.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will discuss the plan at a press conference at 1 p.m. ET on Parliament Hill. CBCnews.ca will carry her remarks live.

Provinces that already have a carbon tax, such as British Columbia and Alberta, or plan to impose a carbon price through a cap and trade system, such as Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, will not be affected.

Provincial sources and those briefed on the federal plan tell CBC the Liberals are hoping to copy the Alberta model for its proposed carbon tax.

Under a deal reached late last year, the federal government wants every province to have some kind of price on carbon by next year and would impose one in 2019 for those provinces that failed to do so.

But the sources said there may be some flexibility if a province is on the verge of approving its own carbon tax, the federal plan will not be imposed Jan. 1, 2019.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and the premiers reached agreement on a pan-Canadian climate framework in December, though Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister did not sign the agreement. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Saskatchewan opposed

Ottawa has set a starting price of $10 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022.

So far, five provinces already have a price on carbon.

Four others have promised to bring one in, though they are at different stages of coming up with plans. Those include Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Only Saskatchewan has steadfastly refused to bring in a carbon tax and is threatening to take the federal government to court.

The federal government has promised that any money raised from a federal carbon tax would be returned to that province.

Thursday’s discussion paper will outline different ways that funding could flow. That could range from a lump sum payment to the provincial government or some kind of rebate to businesses and the public.

Trudeau announces ‘pan-Canadian framework’ on climate — but Sask., Manitoba hold off
Carbon pricing scheme to reflect North’s ‘specific challenges’
Provinces must have a carbon pricing system in place in order to tap into various green pots of money announced in the last two federal budgets.

Ottawa and most of the provinces and territories reached a framework deal last December on cutting greenhouse gasses to meet Canada’s Paris Climate Accord commitments. The possibility of a federal carbon tax for provinces that didn’t implement their own plan was part of that agreement.

The federal Liberals were under pressure to have a plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions before it approved more pipelines to carry crude to market.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the dual promise of protecting the environment and developing energy resources at the same time, saying often that improving the economy and the environment go hand in hand.

Chevy Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle rolls out to Canadian dealerships

Two years ago, a Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) concept car was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Ever since, Canadian consumers have been antsy to get their hands on one. This time last year, we reported that a single Quebec dealer had pre-sold 93 of them.

Yesterday was the day for those anxious Canadians, as the first models of the Chevrolet Bolt EV were delivered to buyers in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

The Chevy Bolt EVs can last up to 383 kilometres on a single charge, can go from zero to sixty in 6.5 seconds, offers 266 lb/ft of torque, and starts with a price tag of $42,795 not including taxes and applicable fees. The Bolt comes with some other pretty cool features such as One-Pedal Driving which allows the driver to come to a complete stop without having to touch the brake pedal, this allows the energy produced to be re-used instead of being lost while breaking.

That $42,795 price tag does not include incentives which are offered based on which province you live in. Those who live in Ontario can get up to $14,000 in incentives plus up to $1,000 towards the installation of a home charging station for your their vehicle. The amount the customer receives is based on the battery size of the vehicle, the number of passengers which the vehicle can hold, the price of the vehicle, and the terms of the lease. In Quebec it is possible to receive up to $8,000 off the vehicle plus 50 per cent off a charging station up to a maximum of $600. British Columbians can receive up to $5,000 of incentives towards the vehicle.

Production for the Chevy Bolt EV began in November of 2016 and the very first Bolts were sold in California over December of 2016. It will be available across all North America and certain European markets early this year.

The Chevy Bolt has already won awards, including Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Car of the Year, the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, the 2017 North American Car of the Year award. It was also been listed by Time Magazine as one of the best 25 inventions of 2016.