Solacity Inc - Reliable Green Power Since 2006


E-Mail: Info@Solacity.com
Toll-free: 1-877-PV-PWR-4-U
 

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We Provide Financing!

As a service to our customers we can help you with financing through TD Financial and TD Bank. We can offer a home-improvement mortgage at a great rate, or an unsecured loan up to $50,000. We can structure your loan so MicroFIT income covers the payments. Approval is usually obtained very quickly. Ask us for the details!


Need Do-It-Yourself Solar Supplies?

Just let us know what you need. We can supply you with solar modules, inverters, racking, and all other PV related hardware at very competitive prices!

We are a distributor for Power-One inverters. Their PV grid-tie inverters are the best money can buy, and you can get them from us for a great price.

If you have any PV related questions please do not hesitate to ask! We will be happy to help.

 


MicroFIT Brochure (pdf)


Solacity is an Ottawa Solar Power Installation Company

 

Upset by Ontario's rising hydro rates? When it is sunny you can be making money!

Take advantage of the Ontario MicroFIT and FIT programs, and hydro will pay you up to $375 each month!

Call toll-free 1-877-PV-PWR-4-U (1-877-787-9748 ext. 2)
 

Get Your Site Survey

 

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!

Thinking about going off-grid? We can get you off the electrical grid altogether! Contact us for off-grid supplies or installation. For a sample installation please check out our blog.

Quick Jumps

 

Why Solar?

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 39.6 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.

Click here to see one of our PV installations step-by-step, with pictures!

 

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:

 

Array Size (kW)Price per Watt (CAD)Total Price (CAD)Payback (years)Annual ROI (%)
2$6.23$12,46013.82.3
3$4.87$14,61010.84.3
4$4.24$16,9609.45.7
5$3.85$19,2508.56.7
7$3.50$24,5007.87.9
10$3.14$31,4007.09.4

The payback and ROI numbers assume the PV array is south facing at a 35 - 45 degree pitch. Deviation from this, or shading, will diminish the payback and return numbers.

 

The prices listed above are for an installation using string inverters, and include Web monitoring. We can also install micro-inverters (Enphase) or optimizers (Tigo). Prices for those are available upon request.

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:

  • The only thing missing in our prices is HST (which is refundable), everything else is there. We include all the hardware needed for a regular roof-top flush mount installation on a shingle roof, there are no hidden fees. The electrical work includes the expensive meter fee charged by the Hydro-One and OttawaHydro. We include the engineered drawings as required by Ottawa City. We include all permitting and inspection fees. Be sure to ask other installers for hidden fees.
     

  • We help you fill out all the 'paperwork' with the OPA and Hydro. We take care of you beginning to end: Your Ontario MicroFIT application, permits, and engineering, so you have peace of mind. You will get full access to the account name and password of your MicroFIT account with the OPA, we will not withhold this as some installers do.
     

  • We use flashing to seal all roof penetrations. Unlike most PV installers that just bolt L-feet with a little caulking directly to the shingles, we use flashing in addition to high-quality sealant to properly close all roof penetrations. This makes it very, very unlikely for any leaks to develop, since both the flashing and the sealing would have to fail for that to happen. This flashing is expensive, adding substantial cost to us, that is why most others skip it. We prefer to provide you with the extra peace-of-mind, regardless of the additional expense!
     

  • Our roof top racking is specifically designed for solar PV. We use racking made from aluminum and stainless steel only, materials that do not corrode and will be as good as new even after 20 years on your roof. Solar racking is not cheap, and a substantial part of the installation cost for us, but we believe it is the only way to go. It has come to our attention that some PV installers in the Ottawa area still use regular galvanized steel strut for their PV installations, with a simple nylon spacer between the roof and the strut. While this was common practise 25 years ago, and a very cheap way to go, regular steel has no place on a roof today! It will not fail over a 20-year period, but it will get very rusty, and very ugly. The contact between dissimilar metals will also cause galvanic corrosion of the aluminum frames of the PV modules.
     

  • We use brand-name PV modules from a reputable source. Even though we pay a premium for those panels and could get much cheaper ones, we prefer a brand you can trust. Most PV installers use much cheaper almost-no-name 'brands' that have virtually no track record when it comes to solar modules. Be aware that many of the current Ontario "made" panels are just assembly operations that do not actually 'make' anything. Many have their modules made by other companies, and just put their name on them. Most of them do not have much of a track record to speak off, making you their guinea pig when it comes long term testing. While all manufacturers now give a 25-year warranty on PV modules, you want to ask yourself if they will still be around 25 years from now, or if water intrusion problems develop a few years out.
     

  • We use top-of-the-line Fronius inverters. Fronius inverters are a premium inverter brand from Austria. They are extremely reliable and provide the highest efficiency available of any PV inverter. This translates to higher energy production, and more FIT money for you!
     

  • We tell you the truth, and nothing but the truth, regarding PV energy production, payback time, and return on investment! As obvious as this sounds, this is far from universal in the PV installation world. We have seen numbers published that overestimate PV energy production by 25% or more, and conveniently 'forget' about earning back the money you invested in your PV installation, only counting revenue. The results are payback times of 5 or less years, and ROI numbers in the double digits. Do not believe them! See our realistic (if somewhat conservative) numbers.
     

  • Our installations are always Ontario compliant with the MicroFIT rules. We make sure that your rooftop PV array complies with the rules set by the Ontario Power Authority, as required for the Ontario FIT and MicroFIT contracts. If the OPA decides to take a closer look at your PV array after it is installed you do not want to be in for a rude awakening and find it to be non-compliant, which would result in cancelation of the contract.
     

  • We provide a 5-year warranty on workmanship and operation (1 year if you want us to use micro-inverters or optimizers). If your system is not working as it should we will come and correct the problem at no charge. During that time we will provide free support. Please keep in mind that warranty of the products used in the PV installation is with the manufacturers of those products.

 

Site Surveys

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).

 

Your Rooftop Can Make You Money!

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:

Rooftop up to 10 kW = 39.6 cents per kWh (Ontario MicroFIT)
Ground mounted up to 10 kW = 29.1 cents per kWh (Ontario MicroFIT)
Rooftop mounted 10 kW - 100 kW = 34.5 cents per kWh (Ontario FIT)
Rooftop mounted over 100 kW  = 32.9 cents per kWh (Ontario FIT)
Ground mounted over 10 kW  = 28.8 cents per kWh (Ontario FIT)

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.

 

So, How Much Money Can I Make?

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 $451 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 $9,020 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 9,020 = $45,100 in income, and so on. These are real-world numbers, without exaggerating production as many PV installers seem to be doing these days!

 

What About Payback, and Return-On-Investment?

You are asking the right questions!
Payback, sometimes referred to as "simple payback", is the time in years that it takes to earn back the money you invested into your solar array. Being green is one thing (and a good thing!), but you would still like to earn back your investment before the contract runs out, thank you very much! The return-on-investment (ROI) puts a number on your profit, as an annual percentage. The ROI is very much like the APY number banks use to tell you what return to expect on your money. Both are good measures, if used properly, and both depend on how much you pay for the array.

Let us use a real-world example; a 10 kW roof-mounted PV array installed by Solacity. We charge $3.14 per installed Watt for an array of that size, so the whole solar system will set you back $31,400.

From the above numbers, you can expect this PV array to generate $4,510 per year in income, and $90,200 over its 20-year contract time.

The simple payback time for this array is therefore 31,400 / 4,510 = 7.0 years.
After this time your solar array is fully paid back by the income from your MicroFIT contract. For the remainder of the 20-year contract period you are making a profit!

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 90,200 - 31,400 = $58,800 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 (58,800 / 20) / 31,400 = 9.4 % 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, using real numbers.

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 $33,569.99 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 lining 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!

 

How About Ground Mounted Solar PV?

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.

 

How About the Canada Revenue Agency?

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.

 

What About Real Estate Tax and MPAC?

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.

 

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