How Do Residential Solar Panels Work?
Residential solar panel systems are becoming more popular in Ontario because they are cost effective and environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy. Not to mention, rooftop solar panel systems provide an attractive ROI proposition, especially considering how after installation they will work to cover your retrofit costs easily in less than 10 years. Ensuring a lifetime of savings for decades to come!
The basic principles for understanding how a residential solar panel system works are straightforward and easy to understand. Standard solar panels – or photovoltaics (PV) as they are technically called – generate an electric current by capturing particles of light, called photons, emitted from the sun. These photons then interrupt the electrons in the photovoltaic cells to generate an electric current that is transferred to wires leading to an inverter. After which point, the current is turned into alternating current (AC) power and distributed throughout your home by said inverter.
By switching to solar energy for your home, you’re not only making your house more valuable on the market, but also saving money on electricity bills, boosting the value of your property, and reducing your carbon emissions; aiding Canada in its fight against climate change. However, there are many solar power pros and cons that need to be taken into consideration before deciding on whether or not to install a residential solar panel system on your home. As such, this article works to shed some light on the major benefits and drawbacks to investing in residential solar panels for Ontario homeowners.
What are the Benefits of Installing Residential Solar Panels?
The benefits of solar energy are plentiful. It reduces your electric bill, raises the value of your home, reduces your carbon footprint – fighting annually rising electricity costs, and provides opportunities for earning some money back on your investment.
One of the most significant pros to investing in a residential solar panel system for homeowners in Ontario, is that it could save you a ton of money on monthly energy bills, in that you are not required to source any electricity from your utility company. In fact, almost 100% of your home’s energy consumption needs should be offset with the installation of a residential solar panel system.
Moreover, solar energy is an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source that has many more added benefits including reduction in air pollution, increased local employment opportunities, and lower CO2 emissions for you and the whole family.
This resource provides a comprehensive list of the many benefits of solar power for you to keep in mind.
Reduced/Eliminate Electricity Bills:
When you choose to invest in a residential rooftop solar panel system in Ontario, you gain the ability to generate your own electricity and become less reliant on your utility company. Which in turn, lowers your electricity rate to a fixed/lower than market rate from the point of installation onward. A standard solar panel system typically has a 25 – 35 year lifespan, meaning that you can cut down your electricity cost for decades to come. What is more, with Ontario’s Net-Metering programme, you have the chance to trade any excess power generation with your utility company for equivalent, unbeatable prices in the form of a credit. These credits can also be used to further reduce future energy costs.
Enhance Property Value:
The economics of solar panels are locked in after your initial capital investment, so you won’t have to worry about higher costs down the line. Not to mention the intrinsic value of the array is guaranteed. As such, residential rooftop solar panels are said to add up to 3-4% to the value of your home. In addition to, the extra monetary value that comes from installing solar panels on your home. Making solar panels one of the few energy-efficient retrofits to your home that will not only add value to your property, but it is also an appreciating asset. Thus, by investing in modern solar power technology you will continually improve your assets by building your capital for decades to come.
Reduce Carbon Footprint:
Investing in solar power can reduce your home’s carbon emissions. The best thing about it is that a solar panel system will offset the emissions produced by a day’s worth of energy use, which means it should offset most, if not all, of your home’s coal and gas emissions. With the addition of a solar plus battery storage system to store surplus energy for use later, while enabling you to offset up to 100% of your carbon emissions.
Energy Independence & Minimal Maintenance:
Residential solar panel systems are an investment-centric system which can be expensive at first but offers plenty of rewards over time. Once you’ve installed the system after the initial purchase, your only additional cost would be any required maintenance. Luckily, residential rooftop solar panels are designed to last up to 20+ years and require little upkeep following their installation. However, installing them can still be expensive. Although the energy savings you get from your monthly bills almost completely offsets the cost of any energy-efficient retrofits, in the long-term.
The Canadian federal government has officially launched a new initiative program, called the Canada Greener Homes Grant to support and encourage its residents to invest in new practices of renewable energy. With this new initiative Canadian homeowners are eligible to receive up to up to $5,000 in grants or interest free loans to make home-energy retrofits. In addition to, an extra $600 to combat the cost of any home energy evaluations and expert advice. Additionally, come 2022 more details are set to be released on the Greener Homes Interest-Free loan that incorporates and builds on the energy audits and grants that are currently available with the Canada Greener Homes Grant. What is more, federal and state tax benefits are also available to homeowners interested in investing in a residential solar panel system on their home.
What are the Drawbacks to Installing a Solar Panel System on Your Home?
While installing a solar panel system on your home might seem like the best idea – it does come with its disadvantages. Some of the main solar energy disadvantages are that the upfront cost can be expensive if your bills are low, you’ll need to have a roof that is not shaded so it can successfully generate enough power, it’s not available for every type of roof, and it might not be ideal if you’re moving soon. Plus, if you live in an apartment or a house with limited space, the installation process can be difficult.
Solar power is an awesome resource that should never be discounted, but there are also some downfalls that should be considered before making your decision. Thankfully, this resource provides you with a comprehensive list of the main drawbacks to installing a residential rooftop solar panel system on your home in Ontario.
High Initial Cost:
One of the main reasons why you might want to reconsider installing a residential solar panel system on your home in Ontario is that the upfront cost tends to be quite expensive. Considering the national average up-front cost is $18.500 for the installation of a 6-kW solar panel system of a 1,500 square foot home with a consumption of about 7,200 kWh per year (or about $125 electricity bill per month). Although, the price per watt for installing solar panels can change depending on the home’s geographical location. Thus, for families who do not have an ample amount of disposable income, this might not be the most feasible home-energy retrofitting option. While a residential solar panel system’s ability to reduce your electricity bill is a major advantage, the initial costs for the equipment, panels and installation could range anywhere from $9,000 to $30,000 for the cost of the total installation before taxes, rebates, grants or interest free loans, credits, or discounts. Not to mention if you have a direct-current device operating from alternating-current sources, you will also require a transformer. However, a lot of the time these transformers aren’t 100% efficient. Meaning the operating cost is higher with an AC source than with a DC solar panel.
Those who install a residential solar panel system on their home must also pay attention to the orientation and location of their panels as they might face some difficulties if they don’t take those two factors into account. Therefore, before installing solar panels, consider if there’s a good location for them that has access to lots of direct sunlight throughout the day. As for people who live in residential locations where there are long periods of cloudy days, this can negatively impact the efficiency of your solar system. Thus, your system is likely to be less productive in meeting your home’s energy consumption needs during the winter months in comparison to that of the summer months.
Structural Limitations for Installation & Efficiency:
One of the other drawbacks to consider when looking at investing in a residential solar panel system in Ontario is that roof type matters. The suitability of a rooftop for a residential solar panel installation depends on several factors, such as the age and condition of the homeowner’s roof, the size of the roof, and most importantly the roof’s slope orientation. For instance, certain roofing materials, such as cedar tiles or slate, prove to be difficult for professional solar installers to work with. Considering residential solar panels are installed by connecting each panel to a racking system. That’s why you need to use a better-quality material for installation, like metal roofs. Moreover, skylights and patios, both of which are common features in homes with additions or upper-level living spaces, can lead to further difficulties or extra cost during the installation process. Thus, it’s important to note that solar power home-energy retrofits might not be a viable option for some Ontario homeowners.
Inability to Move with You:
Another drawback with solar energy is that it cannot be easily carried from one home to the next. Thus, it might seem like an unworthy investment and is often not recommended for Ontario residents who are currently renting their homes or young homeowners who may be moving in the coming years. Considering, it can take some time before you reach the break-even point that is often overshadowed by the industry sales reps, during your initial consultation. The average solar panel payback period is around seven and a half years. However, that being said, immediately following the installation of a residential solar panel system the overall value of your property dramatically increases and thus you will still see a return on your investment when you do go to sell your home.
Inconvenience in Inner Cities with Limited Space:
A residential rooftop solar panel system tends to require a decent amount of space to install all the equipment needed to power your house efficiently; in effort to meet your family’s energy consumption needs. Therefore, the installation of some solar panel systems could prove to be an inconvenience for Ontario homeowners living within inner cities and other areas with limited residential space. Considering, 100 square feet of roof space is required for every 1 kW of conventional solar panels.
Is It Worth It To Install A Solar Panel System On Your Home?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to consider when thinking about installing or investing in a residential solar panel system for your home. However, the benefits of solar panels are many and far outweigh the drawbacks. As such, we believe it is worth it to install a solar panel system on your home if you want to be environmentally friendly, save money on your electric bill, and have a nice yard with clean energy in it.
They are environmentally friendly, produce electricity without the use of fossil fuels, and are more affordable than ever for Ontario homeowners to install. That being said, one of the biggest worries people still have with solar panels is the installation process. However, this is not something to worry about since there are now many companies, such as SolarUp, which offer professionally installed solar panels with a reasonable up-front cost. Take control of your power by better understanding the pros and cons of investing in a residential solar panel system within Ontario today!