Solar Photovoltaics for the Ontario Home
What is the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) ?
On May 14th, 2009 the Ontario Government passed The Green Energy Act. This Act directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to establish a feed-in-tariff (FIT) to purchase energy from renewable energy generators.
What it means:
- The OPA agrees to buy the power from your PV system at 80.2cents/kW-hr for 20 years (for systems under 10 kW )
- Streamlined application and approval process for microFIT
- Ontario has the most generous FIT program in the world!
Solar PV as an Investment
- After degradation and depreciation and tax, PV panels may provide you with a 5% or higher return on assets for 20 years. Canada real return bonds currently yield about 1.6%, and long term bonds yield about 3.5 - 4% before tax.
- You can use depreciation to reduce your taxable income from the panels.
- Those close to retirement should consider solar as a means of generating retirement income
- If you take out a loan to pay for the panels, the interest payments are tax deductable, and will help you to write off the income generated by the panels
- Talk to your financial planner about how solar can play a role in your investment portfolio !
How much will it cost?
- The cost of a photovoltaic (PV) system varies depending on it's size and market prices.
- A rough estimate of the installed cost is between $8,000 - $15,000 per kilowatt.
- In Kingston, 1 kW of panels facing south, angled at 45 degrees makes about 1200 kWh per year of electricity.
- Certified dealers and installers can provide a design that will optimize your space and maximize returns and look good on your house.
- The income generated is taxable as business income. Please consult your accountant for how best to take advantage of depreciation allowances.
- PV qualifies for the Home Renovation Tax Credit from the Federal Government valued at up to $1,350 until Feb 1, 2010.
I want PV! What's the Process?
- Have a site survey completed by an installer to determine your PV potential
- You or your installer should apply to the OPA for a FIT Reference Number
- You or your installer should contact your utility provider and tell them you intend to connect to the grid. They will provide you with a connection agreement.
- Obtain financing (if necessary), purchase and have panels installed by a licensed professional to ensure optimal panel performance
- Distribution company connects you to the grid once provided with payment, connection agreement and Electrical Safety Authority certificate
- Sit back, relax and watch as your investment in solar PV makes you money!
What are my financing options?
The Queen's Applied Sustainability Research group is currently negotiating with several financial institutions in order to arrange financing that respects the unique low-risk profile of solar FIT installations. Details will be posted at www.switchkingston.ca/financing as soon they become available.
Click here to download the list of exhibitors.
What happens if I move?
- You could take your panels with you. Minor roof repairs may be required
- You could sell the panels to the new homeowner, and transfer the FIT contract to them
- You could retain ownership of the panels and your FIT contract and rent roof space from the new homeowners
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels:
- Convert sunlight directly into clean electricity
- Create small scale, decentralized power stations to improve grid reliability
- Do not produce green house gas emissions
- Have performance warranties of 20-30 years
- Do NOT require frequent maintenance
- Generate predictable amount of electricity over a year
- Provide a 5% return on investment after tax*!
How it works
- PV array converts sunlight into DC current
- An inverter converts the DC current into AC current (grid electricity)
- System Monitor shows how much electricity your array is producing
- AC current is sold to grid through the Utility Meter at 80.2 cents/kW-hr (for = 10 kW systems)
- One panel of 200 W represents roughly an area of 2 square metres
- A separate system provides power to your home at standard electrical rates
Resources in South Eastern Ontario
Ontario Power Authority (OPA) (FIT program)
Kingston Hydro (Grid Connection in Kingston area)
613-546-1181 ext 2285
Canadian Niagara Power
Answers to Frequently Asked PV Questions
Click here to get lists of Retailers and Installers (pdf)
(when on the «Resources page»: click on the header of Retailer & Installers to see the lists)
Click here to get a printable Brochure(pdf)
Click here for full information on the FIT / microFIT Program
Click here for a customizable spreadsheet that shows your return on investment
(updated September 16, 2010)