Top 10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Solar Provider

Installing solar panels is a long-term investment for your home, and we at TruGreen Energy know how important it is for you to work with a company that you can trust.

But with so many companies out there claiming to “do solar” – it’s no wonder folks are having a difficult time deciding on who to work with.

So how can you tell if that company or person really has the experience and expertise to do the job right?

Well, here are the top 10 questions we recommend you ask ANY solar installer.

1. Are your systems designed by engineers?

Shading, pitch, roof orientation, panel amount, DC/AC disconnect, meter location, electrical box location and more.

You 100% want an engineer trained in solar panel system design to determine all of these components. And each system must be custom designed for the longevity, proper functioning and maximum efficiency of your system.

At TruGreen Energy, we collect photos of your roof with onsite visits and lean on our in-house engineers to create your custom system design.

2. Do you have a journeyman electrician on staff?

If they don’t, avoid them. In Saskatchewan, this is known as a red-seal trade – meaning that any electrical work done in your home needs to be supervised or completed by a journeyman electrician.

Some companies will only have a journeyman electrician show up for a quick inspection because it’s cheaper for them. But you want a company where the journeyman electrician is involved in the entire installation process.

That’s why at TruGreen Energy we have journey electricians on staff and involved in the entire process, so the job is done right, and your family stays safe. For us, this is a non-negotiable.

TO CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION, MAKE SURE TO GET YOUR FREE QUOTE IN!

3. Do you install the system with in-house roofing professionals?

There are 3 types of companies here.

  1. They don’t use professional roofers in any way and can cause serious damage to your roof.
  2. They subcontract work to other roofers with no experience in solar, which can also be dangerous for your home.
  3. They have professional roofers on staff involved with the entire installation process.

Avoid the first two companies and focus on the third.

TruGreen Energy has roofing professionals on staff and we use the highest grade sealants and materials to protect your home.

4. Are the panels from a premium manufacturer with a 25-year warranty?

Truth is, not all panels are created equal – so buyer beware.

At TruGreen, we use premium panels from the top manufacturers backed by 25-year or more warranties.

Fun fact: our panels can withstand large-sized hail (just in case you were wondering) and are built for almost anything Saskatchewan weather can throw at them (including footballs during Rider season)!

5. Are you a local company who can help me if there’s an issue?

If you have an issue with your system, the last thing you need is to call your installer for help, but they are out in eastern Canada or that one-man operation has vanished without a trace.

TruGreen is owned and operated out of Emerald Park (near Regina). We are the fastest growing solar company in the province and have a great track record of serving Saskatchewan residents. We’re happy to have you visit our office and meet our staff!

We also share a portion of profits with local charities and we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.

6. Can you show me how long it will take to pay off my system?

The solar provider must be able to show you the following:

– How long it will take to pay off my system (if financed)
– The savings on your SaskPower bill
– Your estimated production and net-metering with SaskPower

If the company can’t do that, there’s a good chance there’s flaws within their engineering process or they have no experience in Saskatchewan.

 

7. How much experience do you have working with SaskPower?

Ensure your solar provider has a good relationship with SaskPower and understands how their processes work. If not, there could be significant delays with your installation.

TruGreen Energy is a SaskPower Efficiency Partner and has worked closely with them on hundreds of installs to date.

8. How familiar are you with the permitting process with my municipality and will you take care of all the permits for me?

The permitting process can take a lot of time and patience to navigate through on your own. Not knowing how the permits work can delay install and result in unexpected fees.

At TruGreen, we take care of submitting and paying for all design and electrical permits with SaskPower and your municipality.

9. Can you provide me with customer reviews and testimonials and examples of other installations?

Seeing examples of work completed mixed with happy customers is a good sign. If a company is not able to produce this for you, look for someone else.

Curious about TruGreen Energy’s reviews? Hear from happy customers like Darren and Seema by visiting our testimonials page.

10. Can you show me the environmental impact on my system installation?

Going green needs to be more than a buzzword. You want to feel good about how your solar investment saves money and protects our planet. Your solar provider should feel the same way.

At TruGreen Energy, we give you a detailed report on how much CO2 your system takes out of the atmosphere and what that is equivalent to, like removing 600,000 vehicle miles from our roads (that’s just for the smaller systems!).

We believe the future of energy is production at the point of consumption.

As a company, we want to play the leading role in Saskatchewan’s accelerated transition to greener, more affordable energy future.

Thank you for your interest in purchasing solar energy for your home or business – we know you are making a great choice!

READY TO GET STARTED? REQUEST YOUR FREE QUOTE

We hope that this list of questions has provided you with valuable insight on how to make your smart decision even better by ensuring things are done right the first time with a company that you can trust.

  • Your TruGreen Energy Team

How to pay for solar with gov’t incentives & your power bill savings: 5 simple steps

Want solar but worried about the cost? Think you can’t afford it?

No problem. Use our quick 5-step guide below to stop worrying and start profiting from our abundant prairie sunshine for basically nothing…seriously!

For most people, they can get their own green energy asset without having to invest any new money of their own.

Here’s how:

  1. Request a free quote at trugreenenergy.com/quote-request/ – this allows us to determine if solar is a good fit for your property, and if so, custom design a system for you by our engineers.
  2. Talk to us about $0 DOWN solar financing so your upfront cost is nothing. We accept cash too of course :).
  3. Use SaskPower’s 20% cash back rebate to more than pay for any financing costs. Use the extra cash for another project or to lower your financing cost. Most people do the latter.
  4. Use SaskPower’s Net Metering program to earn credits when you overproduce energy to make your power bill microscopic.
  5. Use those savings on your power bill to pay off your green energy asset.

BONUS IF YOU OWN A BUSINESS: Businesses can write off 100% of their solar system cost in that fiscal year through the recently updated Accelerated Depreciation Program with the Canada Revenue Agency. So, you can drastically reduce your taxable income and save big money on your taxes that year, rather than over 3 years previously.

That’s it! Seriously! No new money needs to be spent for you to get solar.

To review:

  1. Your 20% cash back pays for any financing costs for a system, which includes install and any permits/fees. So, no new money is needed there.
  2. Use the savings on your power bill to pay the monthly financing fees until your green energy asset is paid off. So, you’re just reinvesting dollars you were already spending on power.

THE END RESULT: You become a green energy producer and can profit from the prairie sunshine for the next 25+ years.

And with solar being more efficient and affordable than ever before, there’s never been a better time to invest. Many of our customers are calling it a “no-brainer”…and we agree!

If you want to take advantage of these incentives before they’re gone and get your system installed soon, request a quote below today.

There’s a big demand for solar right now and it takes time to get your system designed and installed. So get that quote request in today and we can follow-up to answer any of your question!

We hope that helps you profit with Cleaner. Cheaper. Power.

– Your TruGreen Energy Team

5 Ways Your Business Can Profit from Solar in 2019

Saskatchewan now has the second highest power rates in Canada, and they keep climbing.

That’s why many businesses and farmers are cashing in on generous provincial and federal incentives to slash their power bills while at the same time lowering their tax bill with solar.

Here’s how:

1. Lower your overhead by making your power bill microscopic

SaskPower offers a solar program called Net Metering that allows you to bank credits when you overproduce power (usually in the summer) so you can spend those credits later when you need them (usually in the winter).

That means you have microscopic power bills throughout the entire year resulting in noticeable cost savings.

2. Slash that tax bill with the new Bonus Accelerated Depreciation from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Yes, we typed that right – a lower tax bill! Click here for all the nitty gritty details on the Government of Canada website.

But in short, you can now write off the entire cost of a solar system in the current tax year instead of over 5 years.

That can be a significant deduction to your taxable income.

Here’s an example from CRA to further explain how this works:

“Warehouse Inc. is a distributor of refrigerated goods, with a large warehouse that requires significant amounts of energy. In order to offset a portion of its electricity requirements, Warehouse Inc. invests in a solar array with solar panels costing $500,000.
Immediate expensing will allow Warehouse Inc. to deduct its entire capital investment in the first year, as opposed to $125,000 under current rules, resulting in federal-provincial tax savings of about $100,000. These tax savings will allow Warehouse Inc. to invest in new forklifts for its warehouse.”

Can’t believe we’re saying this… but… thanks CRA!!

3. Get 20% cash back from SaskPower

SaskPower rebates $0.61 per watt, which works out to about 20% of your total system costs up to a maximum of $20,000.
I don’t know about you, but I could sure put that $20,000 to good use in my business!

4. Shield your company from rising energy costs

What if you could have locked in your power bill at the amount you paid 20 years ago? How much would you have saved?

With solar, you lock in your energy rate at a much lower cost than you’re currently paying with the grid for the lifetime of your system.

That means much lower and stable energy costs for the next 25+ years.

As a business owner, we know you want to do everything in your “power” to protect your business from any rising costs, because it affects your bottom line. Solar does just that.

5. Go green for the greater good

In Saskatchewan, we all know green is the colour, but football certainly isn’t the only green game!

Social and environmentally conscious shoppers are on the rise — so take a moment and ask yourself, how is my business doing in this area?

Advertising your green initiatives is good for business in 2019.

All in all, solar is an attractive investment for businesses that is good for the environment and saves money for 25+ years with immediate tax benefits.

It really is CLEANER. CHEAPER. POWER.

If you’re interested in powering your business with solar, request a free quote below and we’ll chat soon.

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

Saskatchewan best place to save money with solar in Canada: NEB study

solar panels regina

Regina is a great place for solar, among the best in Canada

Saskatchewan ranks first among provinces, tied with PEI, as the best place to install solar panels to save money in Canada, according to a new National Energy Board (NEB) economic study (National Post, November 28, 2018).

The study looked at 200,000 communities across every province and found the following:

1. Saskatchewan has more hours of sunlight than almost anywhere
2. The cost of electricity in Saskatchewan is among the highest in Canada

The study goes on to conclude:

It is cheaper for Saskatchewan homeowners to produce power with solar than to purchase power from the grid.

It makes sense with solar being cheaper and more efficient than ever before and our high and rising cost of traditional power.

Additionally, the NEB study didn’t take into consideration the new incentives from SaskPower, which makes solar even more attractive in our province.

On November 27, 2018, SaskPower announced that:

1. The 20% cash back program on solar installations scheduled to expire in 2018, has been extended to November 30, 2021
2. You can now bank credits with SaskPower when you overproduce power (called Net Metering) for three (3) years now instead of just one (1) year

SaskPower has clearly committed long-term to encouraging more solar use.

They’ve recognized solar as a great way for homeowners, farmers and businesses to save money while helping the province go green.

There’s more evidence all the time that Saskatchewan is the perfect place for Cleaner, Cheaper, Power.

If you’re interested in learning more, request a FREE QUOTE at: trugreenenergy.com/quote-request

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

GET IT BEFORE IT’S GONE: 20% Cash Back Solar Ends Nov 30. BUT…there’s a work around

So good news and bad news. The bad news is, getting 20% cash back on your system from SaskPower officially ends November 30, 2018. BUT, there’s good news too.

All you need to do is apply for the solar rebate by November 30, 2018 and you get until November 30, 2019 to install a system and get the 20% cash back.

That’s a big deal and a generous offer. But you need to get that application started ASAP.

We handle the paperwork for you, so no worries there. Just request your free quote and we’ll meet with you and talk through all the details.

There’s no risk in applying, but there is a big risk if you don’t apply by November 30, 2018 and miss out on thousands in savings.

And there’s never been a better time to get solar. Why?

  1. You don’t need any money to get started

TruGreen offers $0 down systems starting as low as $79/month. Then use that 20% cash back to cover any financing costs and payments for two years in most cases or longer!

  1. Microscopic power bills all year round with SaskPower net metering.

This SaskPower program called “Net Metering” doesn’t expire and allows you to bank credits when you overproduce power in the summer and then spend those credits in the winter. So you always have a low bill.

  1. More affordable, efficient and durable than ever

Solar tech is now more affordable and efficient than ever, especially for homeowners. While energy rates rise around the world, yours stay low.

Plus, the panels are tough and can withstand large hail storms. There’s a reason panels come with 25+ year warranties.

  1. Increase the value of your home.

Microscopic power bills are attractive to many potential buyers.

  1. Going green. Emissions = Zero

Solar is hot right now. We’ve received over 2,500 quote requests in 2018 so far. Make sure you’re the first on your block to get solar…and save yourself 20% by acting fast!

Request that free quote ASAP.

We just have to make sure your property is a good fit for solar and then you’re off to the low power bill races.

– Your friends at TruGreen Energy

SaskPower Increasing Their Rates

The Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel is recommending SaskPower reduce a rate increase scheduled to take effect at the start of January.

On Monday, the regulator recommended a 3.5 per cent increase in the new year. This is after a five per cent increase on July 1 that was authorized by the government.

For the average residential customer, their monthly bill will rise by $3.71 on Jan 1. An average urban small commercial customer will see an extra $10.13 on their bill and a typical urban standard customer will see an increase of $114.80. An average large industrial customer will have an extra $14,703.50 on their bill.

SaskPower originally submitted a rate application that included a five per cent increase in July followed by another five per cent increase on Jan. 1, 2017.

The Crown corporation said the increases were necessary as SaskPower needs to update and refurbish existing infrastructure, as well as build new power generation and increase distribution capacity for the future.

SaskPower said it will take approximately $1 billion per year over the next ten years to maintain and renew the company’s generation, transmission and distribution services. These include making expanding the system to include renewable energy.

The corporation said capital expenditures will account for a rate increase of approximately three per cent ANNUALLY.

For 2017, however, the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel said that the second increase should be reduced to 3.5 per cent to soften the impact of two increases in six months.

Al Johnston, chair of the panel, said there were concerns from the public and industrial users that a 10 per cent increase over six months was too much and too quick.

“That was the basic message, that they needed more time, particularly the big industrial customers and commercial customers that use a lot of power,” Johnston said.

“We wanted to make sure that there was adequate time for everybody to make whatever adjustments they need to.”

The panel said the recommendation will finally impact SaskPower and said the company will have to find areas to reduce expense or enhance other revenue sources.

“SaskPower has some expenses, which they can potentially control by cutbacks, not replacing staff, those sorts of things,” Johnston said.

“We are recognizing that SaskPower will have to find some ways to make up that difference if they want to achieve the return on equity that they are targeting.”

The panel has also recommended SaskPower limit the increase in operating, maintenance and administration costs, per customer, to one-half the increase of the Saskatchewan Consumer Price Index, or inflation.

Other recommendations include increasing stakeholder participation in the next cost of service study and rebalance rates between the different types of customers, demand and energy charges based on a cost of service study.

The panel also said SaskPower should prepare its load forecast, cost of service study and resource plan for the public during future rate applications.

“SaskPower has got to make a lot of changes over the next number of years in order to meet the 50 per cent renewable guideline by 2030,” Johnston said.

“I think that’s important that everyone understands what those changes are going to be and what the rate impacts potentially may be so that it’s not a big surprise when rate increases come along.”

Source: Global News

Germany Transitions to Renewables

Germany is Phasing out Nuclear for Renewables

Years ago, Germany made a huge decision to make an effort to replace controversial  nuclear power plants with renewable energy generators such as Solar, wind, and hydro.

 

The decision was made in an effort to completely eliminate nuclear waste, as well as the potential for nuclear disasters such as the very memorable disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

 

This step towards a more environmentally friendly power grid, may seem like a pricey one to anyone this may be news to, though this is not the case.  Germany exports a large amount of electricity to neighboring countries (much more than it imports). This results in a profit rather than a loss. In 2015 alone, the surplus (exports minus imports) was €2.07bn.

 

On certain days, 80% of the electricity in Germany is generated from renewable energies. In 2015, 30% of the electricity consumed was provided by wind, solar, biomass, hydro and waste energy, which makes renewables our largest energy source.

 

These numbers prove that electricity from renewables is no longer a niche product and that the energy transition (“Energiewende” in German) is taking place at a rapid pace.

 

Recently an article that painted Germany as an example of why NOT to unplug from gas and coal, was proved wrong, as it was shown that Germany sold its electricity for so cheap because of how little it costs to generate, and it only pays a premium for its electricity because Germany hardly ever imports it, as they can produce so much at home.

 

This is an amazing example of how it is indeed possible to transition from nuclear energy in this case, to environmentally friendly methods. This transition will be seen as a world trend starter years from now, and will be seen as a historical moment.

 

See more about this article here: http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/2016/08/24/germany-a-pioneer-of-viable-renewables

Australia Solar Feature Image

Australia’s government just made Solar more accessible for its citizens

A more accessible solar power purchase agreement has been announced by the Western Australian Government.

 

”My government would be making it easier for solar PPA providers to operate in Western Australia by allowing companies to apply directly to the Public Utilities Office (PUO) for exemptions from the requirement to hold a retail licence in order to sell electricity to consumers,” Energy Minister Mike Nahan said.

 
A solar PPA arrangement is usually associated with commercial solar in Australia. It’s where a long term contract is established to purchase electricity generated by a solar panel system installed at a customer’s premises. The solar company retains ownership of the system, but also assumes the burden of ownership; providing repairs and maintenance. There is usually no upfront cost to the customer for the installation of a system under a solar PPA.

 
At the end of the contract and depending on the arrangement, the customer may be able to purchase the system outright at a reduced cost.

 

Dr. Nahan also said “by creating the exemption, we have broken down barriers, cut red tape and reduced the regulatory costs for solar PPA providers to offer electricity services to customers. This will help the emerging market to develop and increase the choices that customers have to access these innovative and renewable sources of electricity at an affordable price.”

 

“The state’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (Western Australia’s solar feed in tariff) will be available to eligible customers who export electricity back into the mains grid,” he continued.

 
Given the rapidly falling cost of solar in Western Australia, solar PPA’s are usually of most benefit in conjunction with large systems.

 
Western Australia currently boasts around 206,000 small scale (<100kW) solar installations. It works out to be around one system for every 12 people in the state. “The Government is a huge supporter of renewable energy and this new measure will promote the uptake of even more solar PV systems by the community,” said Dr. Nahan. “A new $4 million stand-alone solar + battery storage pilot project on six properties in regional areas of the state,” Dr. Nahan announced.

 

 

Australia is setting the stage for mass production of solar energy, and it is because there government has taken the initiative of helping consumers afford systems. Solar energy has been proven to save consumers money as it is, now imagine how much you could save by convincing governments to start a similar project here in Canada.

Read more on this article at http://optimusenergy.com.au/australia-making-solar-purchase-accessible/

Future Of Solar Feature Image

What will Solar PV market look like in 2020?

Historically, PV installations were driven mainly by government subsidies offered by well developed countries as part of their environmental strategies. They wanted to “be green” and reduce emissions, so solar PV was part of the solution as one of the available renewable energy technologies.

 

The initial costs of energy generated by solar PV were much higher than electricity from conventional sources like coal, oil, or nuclear. The biggest part of the cost of solar energy is the capital needed to finance the PV assets, mainly the PV panels. O&M costs are negligible compared to the capex costs and there are no fuel costs involved (so far, the sun shines for free).

 

In the period between 2014–2015, solar PV became cost competitive with grid electricity in several world markets — places with a lot of sunshine and high electricity prices (like California, Hawaii, Australia, etc.). From this point, “grid parity” onward, PV technology does not need government subsidies. Solar will be the first-choice technology cost wise. The new lower prices created even greater demand for solar and opened new markets in developing countries. More demand allowed for even further decreases in cost, making solar even more competitive, and so on.

 

This positive reinforcement creates a situation in which the cumulative solar PV capacity doubles every 24 months. Since the inception of solar, there has been a total of 320 GWp built. Within the next two years, this total capacity will be doubled. In the next 4 years there will be 4 times as many solar installations.

 

Therefore, in 2018, there will be ~640 GW of PV installed and the industry will need to employ up to 5 million people. By 2020, there will be ~1,280 GW installed and possibly 10 million people employed.

 

At the same time, costs of PV panels will continue to drop, so PV electricity will be cost competitive in more and more local markets.

For more information please visit: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/09/will-solar-pv-industry-look-2020/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-cleantechnica+%28CleanTechnica%29

Chernobyl- From wasteland to Energy Haven?

To some it was a long time ago, while some remember it like it was yesterday. The disaster that occurred on April 26, 1986 in Chernobyl Ukraine has had a huge impact on not only the people surrounding the area, but all life in the area. 1,600 square miles now being deemed an exclusion zone, this land cannot be lived on, or hardly even entered without very strict security clearance and specific security measures taken to protect from radiation. Many see this land as a zone of failure and destruction. Though not all see it the same way. Though the land cannot house humans, or most life in general, it does not mean that it is there to be wasted. The land still gets sunlight. Now with the growing popularity of solar energy more people are seeing where real potential is for solar farms. These people have seen that exact potential in the currently baron wasteland.

 

In a recent interview, Ukraine’s ecology Minister has stated that there have been multiple offers by US and Canadian companies who are looking into creating the largest solar farm to ever exist to date. The sun has not stopped shining in this exclusion zone and would be an ideal place to harvest the sun’s energy. So much energy that it could even potentially create up to 1/3 the energy that was created by the nuclear power plant when it was functioning. Keeping in mind that the only potential spill from this energy can easily be prevented by some some screen.

 

Though the country still insists on its dedication to nuclear powered electricity, it is still very important to see that solar is getting recognition on a huge global stage. If this idea works out, it could definitely become a large boost for other countries to look at solar energy potential as well!