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Topic: Anyone have solar panels????  (Read 3215 times)
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Onyxnox
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« on: July 29, 2015 06:54:16 PM »

We have someone coming over to talk to us about installing solar panels on the roof - apparently there is a government incentive for it.  I am looking for ways to cut the electrical bill and being more environmentally responsible, but I was wondering if anyone else has roof mounted panels and what their experience was with them...

I wondered if there was damage to the roof, any issues with weather changes, how durable they were, initial $$ outlay, if house insurance is affected, etc...
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015 03:44:42 PM »

We had solar panels for a couple years on our old house, no complaints whatsoever. They had a noticeable effect on the electricity bill, and we earned their cost back relatively quickly. (I don't know exactly how quickly, but we had the panels for about 4 years before we moved, and we earned them back way before that.)
They were put up in a single day, didn't impact the roof for as far as I know, and we've experienced heavy snowfall and rain (I live in Belgium, it rains about 75% of the time) without any damage to them.
When we sold the house, the panels were a plus in the taxation of our property.
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015 10:46:49 PM »

Did you have any problems with critters nesting under or about the panels, or any issues with ice jams or snow build up, or leaves?  What kind of maintenance did you ever have to perform?
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2015 07:16:46 PM »

I just saw this post. I am curious to what has happened.

I know that sometimes one is required to do things to make their roof ready to accept solar panels, but otherwise it seems like they don't take a lot of maintenance. I'd love to hear what you learned. We'd like to go solar after we replace our roof (it's due).
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Onyxnox
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015 02:48:43 AM »

Ontario has a microfit program where the government is paying home owners a premium rate (guaranteed for so many years) for the electricity produced by solar panels for the electrical grid - so it would not be to offset our usage from the grid - we would continue to pay our electrical bill, but concurrently earn for what we produce, which is, per kilowatt hour or whatever measure they use, higher than in theory what we pay, so after the panels are paid off, we likely would make money off them.  This is a popular program, but it may be a couple of months before someone comes to measure our roof, and look at the specs.  Our roof is only a couple of years old, and the structure beneath it fairly new too, since DH just put the second addition on a couple of years ago, so it should be good.  They already said they would put the critter barrier on, so hopefully it won't become the penthouse of a squirrel condo.
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015 06:31:01 AM »

Ah. It's good to know about the critter guards. The local squirrels are ruthless! And who knows what the birds might get up to.

The US has Federal tax rebates for adding solar and some localities do as well. It is quite expensive and can take awhile to pay for itself. Various electricity providers have different programs for buying your extra power. We're learning that in our market we may not be able to lease which is an option in larger markets and can make more sense for certain buyers. Mostly I am interested because a) it feels like the right thing to do and b) if we lose power we lose our electric well pump and therefore water. Our power company is a co-op and really good about maintaining the lines (preventing power outages) and getting us back up and running fairly quickly when we do lose power, but it still would be nice to be able to flush toilets, etc. when the power is out. And in case someday we have a longer outage, it would be nice to know our freezer full of food won't spoil.
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2016 12:30:11 PM »

We had a couple different companies come out and give us estimates for solar panels, and also just for solar hot water (often a major part of the electric bill if you have an electric water heater).

Since we don't have enough taxable income to make the tax credits usable (and we already conserve energy as much as possible), we figured out it would take us nearly 20 years to save enough money to repay the solar conversion; and that's not allowing for maintenance or accidents.  And how long do solar panels last?  Up to 20 years, so we'd have to go through it all again.

We did consider a lease program, but they only did grid-tie systems, where you feed power to the electric company and draw as needed.  Unfortunately, those systems DON'T WORK WHEN THE POWER LINES ARE DOWN because you aren't storing the energy.  That's a deal killer for me, and something to consider if you're in an area that has frequent and/or prolonged outages.   

Our longest outage was 3 days, after tropical storm Iselle.  Like MistressT, we need a pump to run our water, so I was taking bucket baths by the swimming pool, and hauling water upstairs to flush the toilet.  Lucky us; some people in our area were without power for 3 weeks.
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Onyxnox
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2016 02:11:15 AM »

Good to know - I was not impressed that the company we had spoken to never did send out people to do an assessment of the roof, after going through the sales pitch online and on the phone.  Also the program was more to save $ on electricity, and there was no option of storing the energy for our own use in case of outage, without us paying extra $ or doing it ourselves, so it may be more something we may consider in the future for  a smaller retirement property when we are out of the city and want to live more off grid and run the risk of power outages with less likelihood of them being repaired in a timely manner.  We have a couple of generators now for bad outages like the ice storm a couple of years ago - 5 days no power.
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017 10:15:08 AM »

We're considering this. Did you ever find out more?
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Onyxnox
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017 06:40:30 PM »

No - the microfit program is over, so it is not a priority for us right now - there are other aspects of the house that need to be dealt with, namely the siding, windows, and a few other things.  I am not liking the new program Ontario Hydro has, of sending out letters telling you how efficient energy use is - I think they are basing it on old information of our house, namely that it was a bungalow and we have since added a second story.
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