Thanks to Mike Daciw from EVOLVsolar for guest blogging for us this week! You can reach Mike with any questions at 403.510.8932 or [email protected]
Have you ever considered going renewable energy for your home or business? As it turns out, Alberta might be the one of the best places in the world to go solar!
It goes without saying that solar panels are like most Canadians – they are happiest and most productive when the sun is shining. In addition to having world class oil and gas reserves here in Alberta, we also have some of the best solar resources on the continent, with most major cities receiving over 300 days of sunshine per year!
And while electricity rates are currently low, the Alberta Electric System Operator is predicting them to start rising steadily, almost doubling by 2022 according to the chart below. This is due to a couple of factors.
First, the Shepard Energy Centre came online in 2015 just as the economy was experiencing its worst downturn since the 1980’s meaning an over-supply of energy leading to unusually low prices.
Second, the government has implemented a $30 carbon tax and has pledged to shut down all the coal plants, which means an increased cost to generate power which ultimately the consumer pays for. Regardless of who gets voted in next time, the feds have pledged a $50 carbon tax so if anything it will be going up!
Given this reality, many people think of solar as a possible alternative but believe that the cost is too high – and if you checked 5 or 10 years ago, it was! The good news is, with huge amounts of money being poured into research and development, the cost of solar panels has fallen over 75% in the last decade, making it cheaper than any other form of energy on the planet.
And to make the story more compelling, the provincial government recently announced a program that will rebate up to 30% of the cost of a residential or commercial solar installation, making now an ideal time to see if solar makes sense for you.
Here are some answers to the most common questions asked in Alberta:
- A typical install takes 2 or 3 days and saves the average Albertan $50 to $100 off their bill each month.
- Your solar PV system ties to the grid using a bi-direction meter and excess energy produced during the day is sold for credits, which can then be used to buy back electricity in the evenings – thus, no need for batteries!
- You produce solar energy on cloudy days, as infrared light has longer wavelengths which can break through even the darkest skies.
- A recent article in the New York Times shows that homebuyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with the average-size solar photovoltaic system (3.6 kilowatts, or 3,600 watts), compared with a similar home without one.
- The typical installation in Alberta costs between $10,000 and $15,000 after rebates, which can be added to your mortgage or financed separately.
If you’d like to talk energy efficient homes, solar, or other ways to reduce your bills and carbon footprint, feel free to reach out any time!