Solar Facts

Solar Energy FAQ's

How big a solar panel system do I need?
In the case of grid-tied systems, Hydro Québec electrical grid is there as a backup and sizing is based on energy consumption. In the ideal situation we design a system which will offset 100% of your annual consumption. However we can design a system which will offset 5% and up. A system sizing approach is usually based on a combination of consumption, available roof area with good solar exposure and project budget. On average 10-40 solar panels.

Off-grid systems are storing their energy in batteries to supply essential loads. Here is it critical that the power system is properly sized to provide an adequate amount of power throughout the year - sizing calculations are based on the expected power usage of the load, ie. camp, cottage, lighting system etc. Natural Resources Canada has a good but slightly outdated guide for sizing of off-grid loads, read here.
How are solar power systems sized?
PV systems are typically rated in terms of kilowatts (kW). Basically, this number is the addition of the rated power output of all the panels in the system. A 1 kilowatt system under full sun will produce approximately 1000 watts. With the Net Metering Program most systems installed currently are as large as possible (roof size).

In Québec a kilowatt of installed PV array will produce 1000-1300 kilowatt hours of electricity. By comparison, a typical family in Canada is using 10,000 kilowatt hours per year. For the typical family, 1 kW will produce 10% of their power usage.
How much do solar panel systems cost?

The following installation cost guidelines include labour, all hardware, permits and equipment required to connect your roof mounted PV system to the grid for a Net metering program:

2.5 KW (10 solar panels) @ 10 500 $

5 KW (20 solar panels) @ 15 000 $

10 KW (40 solar panels) @ 26 000 $

The cost per watt drops as the system size increases because the same infrastructure costs (labor, connection equipment, inverter etc) apply to even the smallest systems. PV systems are generally more cost effective with larger arrays.

Are solar power systems expandable?
Generally speaking yes, however this should be planned for and discussed during the site assessment/consultation process. There are certain sizes that one can expand within depending on the inverter approach being used in the system.
What happens if there is a blackout?

That depends on your system. Most grid-tied systems have no batteries included and will not provide power when the grid is de-energized. This comes from a Hydro Québec requirement that independent power producers be unable to send dangerous voltage out onto the grid which could be a hazard to line workers.

For those concerned about blackouts, a grid tied system can be designed to include batteries, example: Tesla Power Wall, and transfer switching to isolate the home from the grid and draw power temporarily from the battery bank. A battery bank will add about 20-30% to the cost of the system.
How big are the solar panels? How much space will a system take up on my roof?

Standard PV panels intended for grid-tied applications is 250 watts. These panels are approximately 3' x 5' in size and weigh approximately 42lb each.

10 panels = 150 square feet

20 panels = 300 square feet

40 panels = 600 square feet

of roof space for flush mounted systems (not tilted up off surface).

What is the ideal orientation for the solar panels?

Photovoltaic panels are sensitive to orientation and site conditions. The optimum compass orientation (called azimuth) is true South, with SE to SW being perfectly acceptable - moving East or West drops power production further (by roughly 20%).

The best tilt angle for the solar panels is approximately 30 degrees for all year production. Shadows greater than 1-2 inches are of concern. Shadows at a site can be managed with string layout design or a micro-inverter or maximizer strategy that isolates the shading effect.

What happens to solar panels in winter with the snowfall?
The electricity production will drop dramatically or even stop. This is why we always estimate production on an annual basis. From November to February only small amounts will be produced.
What happens at night?
There is no production at night. You will be using Hydro Québec’s grid as usual. No action is required on your end. Everything is fully automated.
What happens when I have to change my roof?
The array will have to be removed and reinstalled after the roof is redone. This would require about 0.5-1 day to remove and 1-2 days to replace - no disruption to the home's electricity would be required. A removal due to re-roofing would cost up to $1500.
Can I use my land instead of roof space?
Absolutely! Ground racking solutions will be used. Please contact us for more details.
Can I install a solar panel system myself?

A small off grid cottage type system operating at low voltage can be self-installed with appropriate electrical skills, caution and preparation.

To have your system connected to Hydro Québec’s electrical grid, Master electrician is necessary.

Please consider this:

No workmanship warranty will be issued. (We provide 2 years)

In case of failure of any components you will have to contact directly manufacturer.

No liability insurance (contractor`s side) will be protecting your house.

You will need to apply for all necessary permits on your own. (We apply for all the permits on your behalf). Only qualified personnel should connect a high voltage PV system to the grid.

Can I make money with solar energy production in Québec?
Simple answer is no, however you can save and savings can go up to 100% of your hydro consumption. Please contact us for custom savings analysis for your house.
How Can I check how much electricity my solar power system is producing?
We offer powerful remote performance monitoring systems that are capable of providing instant access to key information regarding performance of your solar power system in real time. View this vital information 24/7 through your smartphone, tablet or other Internet-connected device.
Does solar energy power system boost home sale prices?

Most definitely!

According to the US National Bureau of Economic Research 2011 study, installing a solar panel increases your property’s value by about 3.5%. Prospective buyers will jump at the chance to buy a house that comes with smaller power bills than others living on the grid. Solar panels aren’t just an investment for yourself, but your house, office or business and the environment.

Please read this great article in Forbes How Much Do Solar Panels Boost Home Sale Prices?

Grid tied solar energy powered system - how long will it last?
Solar modules have been tested in the field showing small reductions in power output after 20 years, mostly because the glass surface becomes a bit dull and does not absorb as much light. Good solar panels usually carry an output warranty of 20 years. The electronic components such as inverters, being the most sensitive, should last at least 10 to15 years before requiring refurbishing or replacement.
What are the components used in a solar energy powered system?

Every Solar Power System includes 3 main elements:

1. Solar panels

2. The racking / mounting of the solar panels to the roof.

3. The inverter.

Optional battery bank for off grid installations.

The solar panels will take in the suns energy and transform it to DC power where it is then transferred to the inverter. The inverter will then convert the energy from d/c to a/c.

Typical solar installation components. Grid tied solar power system. Net metering."
What are the types of solar power systems?

The two main types of solar energy power systems are:

1. Grid connect (tied)

2. Off grid (stand alone / remote power).

A grid connect installation ensures you have the electricity you need, whenever you need it - automatically and regardless of weather conditions.

With a grid connect system your property is still connected to the electricity grid for periods such as night-time when solar electricity production is not possible.

More in depth info can be found by clicking here.

An off grid solar power system is completely separated from the grid and is more expensive as it uses a battery bank for storing electricity generated by solar panels.

Off grid installations are most common in rural and outback areas where the main hydro grid isn't available, or super expensive to connect to. In this situation an off grid system can be an ideal solution, saving you possibly tens of thousands of dollars.

More in depth info can be found by clicking here.

Why go solar?
  • It’s good for the environment. Unlike conventional power, solar produces no harmful emissions that hurt the environment.
  • It’s a solid home investment. Many home improvements that you will make, will not add the same value that you put into them. Solar energy will save you money each month. In addition, the investment that you made in solar, will add its exact property value to the home.
  • Solar Energy systems are durable. Because of the way they are built they have no moving parts, solar modules are extremely reliable, with an expected life span of several decades. They are self-cleaning and require little in the way of maintenance.
  • Solar could help you afford home improvement you’ve been wanting. Lots of people design a swimming pool or hot tub with their solar system in mind. On average a swimming pool adds $200 to your monthly energy bill. Your solar system could be designed with that extra usage in mind.
  • Solar has a fixed energy cost. Hydro Quebec often raise energy costs, but your cost for a solar system would be the same monthly until paid off.
  • Being ahead of the curve. The future of energy is in renewable and clean energy. By converting to solar energy now, you’d be a step ahead.
  • Solar Energy is cool! Let’s face it, what’s cooler than the sun powering your home?
  • Either way, you can’t keep the money. Whether you’re spending money to make an investment in solar energy, or giving that money to Hydro Quebec, this money is still being spent. Deciding to go solar is very much similar to deciding to purchase a home. You can invest in yourself and take control of your energy costs, or pay your utility provider for rented energy monthly.
  • Solar power systems are collectively saving Canadian households around a million dollars a day on their electricity bills.
  • Too far from the grid. Beside from giving you the opportunity to generate your own electricity, a rooftop solar array addresses issues relating to the expense and inefficiency of distributing power over long distances.
What is solar energy?

The timing has never been better for you to invest in solar