Solacity provides professional solar installation services in the Ottawa, Ontario, area. Solacity knows solar PV! We bring old-fashioned craftsmanship and an attention to detail to your job. We are not trying to be the cheapest; we do strive to be the best. Period. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and 100% of our customers are very pleased with their solar systems (we will be happy to provide references). Let us do your installation, let the sun do the rest, and you will be another happy customer!
Of course, everyone has different reasons to install solar panels on their roof. Some want be a little more green in their lives, some want to help our planet by producing green electricity, others are more interested in earning revenue from solar power, as an investment. For most it is a combination of many factors. Now that the Ontario Power Authority offers 54.9 cents for every kilo-Watt-hour (kWh) of rooftop solar electricity sold to the Ontario grid, with a fixed-price guaranteed 20-year contract, there is a reason for everyone to put a solar PV array onto their roof!
When installed properly a solar array will last much longer than the 20-year contract term. All solar modules come with a 25-year warranty these days! In fact, there is no reason why they should not be around producing electricity for 30 or 35 years. That means you will have a fully-paid-for PV array sitting on your roof at the end of the OPA contract that can then be used to offset your own electricity use through net-metering. Yet another reason to install solar.
Solacity Installation Services Pricing
We install solar power in the Ottawa area (generally anything within a 1-hour radius around Ottawa). Our PV installation services prices include everything that is needed for a standard flush-mount shingle rooftop installation, soup-to-nuts, turn-key. There are no hidden fees, the only item missing is HST (which is refundable through Canada Revenue). If your installation is different from 'standard' we will tell you so upfront. The price varies with the size of the solar array, per Watt it gets cheaper for larger arrays. This is because the fixed cost (fees, engineering etc.) dominate for small installations. The figure below shows the whole range of prices, payback, and ROI (an explanation of those terms and how they are calculated follows further down). Here is a sampling of our current price numbers:
We also install on flat roofs, or on the ground. Prices for those installations are slightly higher than the numbers listed above. PV arrays larger than 10 kW under the FIT program are possible too, just ask us for pricing.
As a service to our customers we can provide financing, both secured and unsecured, through TD Financial and TD Bank. Other banks also provide financing for PV arrays. Because PV returns are very predictable, the contract term is 20 years, the Ontario Power Authority is part of the government (they are not likely to default), and quality PV equipment easily lasts that long, banks are usually more than willing to extend loans for solar energy installations. This can be part of a mortgage, or a home improvement loan (and we can help you with a mortgage from TD Bank). The Ontario MicroFIT contract is transferrable, making it easy to sell your PV array with your property.
The Solacity Difference
With so many offering PV installation services be sure to compare apples to apples! Here is why Solacity should be your company for Ottawa solar power:
We will be delighted to come and perform a site survey at your property! This will result in a 4 or 5 page document that spells out the solar potential of your property in detail, including installation cost, installation layout, solar PV revenue, payback time, and return-on-investment.
Contact us if you want to set up an appointment for a site survey (phone 1-877-787-9748 or click this link for E-mail).
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) pays you for energy made from sunshine that you feed into the Ontario grid, through their Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program. Systems up to 10 kW fall under the Ontario MicroFIT rules, while larger systems use the more complicated FIT program rules. The contracts with the OPA are for a 20-year time period, and they pay a guaranteed fixed rate for each kWh you sell to the grid. The solar power rates are:
For most home owners the 10kW-and-under category is the most interesting one. If you have a roof that faces between east and west, with limited shading between 9am and 3pm in summer, you can make money! In case you are not sure if your roof will work for solar energy, just give us a call and we will be happy to schedule a site survey.
In the Ottawa area, for solar modules facing south at the proper angle, every 1 kW of PV will produce around 1140 kWh per year. This is a somewhat conservative estimate, taking real-world efficiencies into account. When the panels are brand new production will likely be a little higher, but at the end of the 20-year contract period it will likely be a little lower. In short, 1140 kWh per year is a good estimate to work from.
Using 1140 kWh per year, each 1 kW of PV modules will generate $626 of income per year for rooftop mounted solar PV. This is for systems of 10 kW in size and under.
Now that we have the annual number, we can calculate income over the entire contract period. Every 1 kW of PV can be expected to generate $12,517 of total income over the 20-year Ontario MicroFIT contract period. This scales with size of course; a 5 kW array can be expected to generate 5 x 12,517 = $62,585 in income, and so on. These are real-world numbers, without exaggerating production as many PV installers seem to be doing these days!
You are asking the right questions!
Let us use a real-world example; a 10 kW roof-mounted PV array installed by Solacity. We charge $3.97 per installed Watt for an array of that size, so the whole solar system will set you back $36,900.
From the above numbers, you can expect this PV array to generate $6,260 per year in income, and $125,200 over its 20-year contract time.
The simple payback time for this array is therefore 36,900 / 6,260 = 5.9 years.
For the ROI you need to know how much you will have left over after the 20-year contract period has ended, and this is your income minus the cost, or 125,200 - 36,900 = $88,300 in profit over 20 years.
Now that we know profit, it is easy to calculate the ROI as the percentage of profit in comparison to your investment (the cost) per year. The ROI is (88,300 / 20) / 36,900 = 12.0 % annually. That is a much better than what the bank will pay you for your money at the time this was written (with interest rates on savings accounts at around 0.5%)!
Be aware that many PV installers conveniently 'forget' about the money you invested and only look at the income to calculate payback time and profit. This is wrong, misleading, and results in ROI numbers that are not realistic. The graph above on this page shows cost per installed Watt, payback time in years, and ROI for PV arrays installed by us.
Another popular scam that is heavily promoted by PV installers is to calculate ROI numbers when financing of the solar array is involved. Unfortunately the whole return-on-investment concept does not work so well for financed projects, as it is easy to get double digit, triple digit, or even infinite ROI numbers that way. Imagine putting in 1 cent of your own money and financing the other $43,299.99 of the solar array. Most of the revenue will go to the bank, but at the end of the 20-year contract you may still walk away with, say, $1,000 in profit. That would make for a whopping ROI of (1,000 / 20) / 0.01 = 500,000% annually ("Yeah Baby", as Austin Powers would say!!). Clearly the ROI concept is falling apart here, and is better to look at actual profit. Do not let ROI numbers mislead you!
Financing can still be a good thing. As long as you realize that some of the solar energy profit will go towards paying the bank instead of your pocket. You do end up with a fully paid for (and in a real sense 'free') solar array at the end of the ride, that may be put to productive use to lower your hydro bill after the 20-year contract time is up. You also contribute by producing green energy. Nothing wrong with that!
Under the new Ontario MicroFIT rules it has become very difficult to install ground-mounted solar PV. Your property needs to be zoned such that it is not meant for residential use (agricultural zoning, with residential use ancillary is allowed). For commercial or industrially zoned land the addition of solar PV has to be of secondary use, it can not be primarily used for solar PV. The property that is to be used for ground mounted solar PV cannot abut a residentially zoned property either (and the OPA takes 'abut' to have a very wide meaning; even if there is a 15m wide road between your property and the residentially zoned neighbours it is still not allowed, unless that road is a 'highway' or a railway).
If you believe your property qualifies for ground mounted solar please contact us. We do install ground mounted solar PV. Pricing is slightly higher than roof mounted.
As far as the CRA is concerned you have just become a small business when you sign a MicroFIT contract. You are manufacturing and selling electrical energy! The bad part is that MicroFIT or FIT income is taxable. The good part is that you can deduct all legitimate business expenses, to offset that income. The entire solar array installation is deductible under the capital cost allowance rules. The same goes for insurance expenses, hydro fees, maintenance cost, and even a reasonable amount that you put aside for future use to replace parts (for example, you can put away money to replace the inverters after 10 years, even if they will not need to be replaced). You can even get the HST refunded, by applying for a (free) HST number.
Of course, we are no accountants and you should talk to one to make sure. However, with some creative, and perfectly legal bookkeeping, you should be able to offset all income for the first 10 years of the contract, and avoid paying tax on it.
At this time MPAC does not have a mechanism to assign value to a solar photovoltaic installation, and it should not affect your property tax. It may creep indirectly into the tax you pay in case you purchase a property that already has solar installed on it. This is because you will likely pay a premium for a property with a PV array, and the MPAC assessment is based in part on the property's last sale price.