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