Residential Solar PV Systems

Ontario Feed-In Tariff Rates: As of January 1st, 2014:

Rate Size Location Program
$0.39.6
10kW or smaller
roof mounted
microFIT
$0.29.1
10kW or smaller
ground mounted
microFIT

As a reminder, the 2012 tariff rates were as follow... Quite a drop in 2 years:

Rate Size Location Program
$0.549
10kW or smaller
roof mounted
microFIT
$0.445
10kW or smaller
ground mounted
microFIT

These tariffs were designed to replace the net metering and standard offer programs. Under the Feed-in Tariff, you are paid for every kWh of electricity produced. 10kW rooftop

 

 

 

Residential Rooftop Systems

Residential rooftop systems that conform to the MicroFiT classification, must not exceed a maximum size of 10 kW AC.

Central Inverters or with Micro-inverters can be used. Central inverters work very well where there is no chance of shading on the solar panels. Micro-inverters will produce more power if one or more of your solar panels may experience shade during the day - large trees, chimney, etc.

2nd Row of Solar Panels 3.6kW Solar PV System Installing Rails with Flashing

An Ontario Solar Farms 3.6kW Rooftop Installation in London.

Ground Mounted

Fixed Gound Mounted

If you have the space, a ground mounted system can increase power production.

Fixed solution: The panels are positioned to point south and with the best elevation for your specific site. There are no adjustments made once the system is installed. Racks may hold 2 or 3 rows of solar panels. Dual Axis Tracker

 

Static pole mounted system: This system provides a very low profile, with seasonal adjustments made to increase production. The season adjustments provide a significant increase in power output over a fixed installation (10%), while requiring a minimum of effort.

 

Deger Dual-axis Tracker

Single-axis or dual-axis ground mounted trackers: The dual-axis tracker systems offer improved output of a dual-axis tracker (40% over fixed), while maintaining a fairly low profile setup via use of two poles. If space is a concern, 10kW systems are available on a single pole.

Single-axis trackers offers a very low to the ground option, spreading the 10kW solar panels across 3 or 4 poles. With this smaller array size, the single-axis tracker doesn't require complete wind-guard technology.

 

What was the Net metering and Standard Offer Program that was offer prior to Feed-in Tariff?

Netmetering

Your electrical meter is replaced with a new meter that can run forward and backward. All electricity produced by your solar system is first used within your residence. If there is a surplus, it runs onto the electrical grid and your electrical meter runs backwards. You get billed for your "total" usage over a period of time - usually billed per month, but your total usage in taken over a one year span. If you happened to have a surplus during this "total" usage timeframe, you would not get any credit for the extra electricity you generated. Very few residential systems under this program, would produce enough power to cover the needs of the household. Residential solar systems typically were sized to cover less than half of the total electrical needs of the household since you were not paid for any extra electricity that was produced. If you have a Net Metering system and want to convert to the Feed-in Tariff system, you need to install a second meter and meet the Ontario content rules. You can then "sell" ALL of the electrical power you produce, to the OPA (in Ontario). Your existing meter is used to determine how much power your house uses and you pay for this power at the going rate - around 11 cents per kwh. You must also apply for a new MicroFiT contact via the OPA website.

Standard Offer Program

Your production of electrical power, is kept completely separate from all other systems. Production is metered as it goes onto the electrical grid. Your contract is with the Ontario Power Authority, though you deal with the Local Distribution Company for Impact Assessments and connection issues. You were paid 42 cents per kilowatt-hour produced, for a period of 20 years. The new FiT rates are better for ALL system sizes. To switch to the FiT system, you need to apply for a new contract through the OPA Website and meet the Ontario content rules.

 

FAQ About Solar PV Systems

  1. Will solar panels work in the north? A. Yes. Ontario has good quantities of sunlight.
  2. What about trees? A. No part of a solar panel should be covered in shade between 8:00am and 6:00pm during summer months or 10:00am to 4:00pm in winter. Even a small amount of shade can drastically reduce electrical production. If shading may take place, we offer a micro-inverter system. With a micro-inverter, only the panel or panels, that have shading, have reduced power output. With a central inverter, if one panel in a string of panels is shaded, the output of the whole string can be reduced.
  3. Do I need to face Due South? A. While solar thermal systems that heat water can face east, west or south, solar PV panels need to point close to a southerly direction. Some mounting systems can assist with aiming the panels if they are not to far off of south. The ground mounted systems can easily be aimed in the correct direction. You should NEVER install rooftop mounted solar panels facing straight East or West! There is a table on this page, showing how much power you lose at different angles off of true south: Rooftop Systems

 

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