To bring you up to speed, we’ve put together answers to the questions we get asked most about solar systems in Ontario.

Click below to jump to an answer or scroll down to read them all.

How does it actually work? Could it power the planet?

Is my roof good for solar?

Here are three points to consider.

1. Sun

As you might guess, the path of the sun in relation to your roof has a big impact on your solar array. In Ontario, a south facing roof is ideal, but any roof from east to west, with the exception of north, should work well. The angle of your roof also plays a role in the efficiency of your array. The further north you are from the equator, the higher the angle you may want, to help your panel get a full dose of the sun’s energy. Solar speak for these two factors are Azimuth (degree of your roof in comparison to south) and Tilt (angle of your roof in relation to the sun in your region).

2. Shade

Another factor affecting your solar potential is the shade cast by trees and other structures on your roof. Although having no shade would be ideal, you may find you really love that tree on the western side of your roof that provides afternoon shade on your deck. What to do? While heavily shaded roofs may not work for a solar array, some shade can be worked with – there is even specific solar equipment designed to minimize the impact of shade. Your EthoEnergy representative can help you determine the potential impact in your situation. If you do decide to eliminate a couple of trees, remember this: experts estimate that the green impact of even a small solar array is the environmental equivalent of planting 20 or more trees each year (EPA estimate of the impact of a 1kW solar array – www.epa.gov/cleanenergy).

3. Roof

While nearly any roof style (pitched, flat, steel, rubber, asphalt) can be appropriate for a solar system, you will want to install your array on a roof that’s in good condition – one that will require minimal maintenance over the life of your solar array (which happens to be up to 50 years!). Most arrays can be removed and re-installed reasonably if roof repair is needed at some time down the road, but it is best to install solar over a roof already in good repair.

We work hard to ensure our representatives and installers are experienced professionals who understand the needs of your roof. We even run our installation process by roofing manufacturers to make sure our practices keep your original roof warranty intact.

Winter weather? Snow what?

This may come as a surprise, but research has shown that even in snowy climates, solar arrays are well worth the investment.

While a layer of snowfall temporarily covers the panel and stops production, the panels don’t remain covered for long, even in the most snow-heavy regions.

“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce, referring to the albedo effect, which is caused by white colors reflecting sunlight. “It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.”

Pearce and R. W. Andrews have authored a paper based on the preliminary study, “Prediction of Energy Effects on Photovoltaic Systems Due to Snowfall Events,” published in proceedings of the 2012 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.

Should I own or should I lease my solar system?

Ever heard of “free solar?”

It’s actually a common term in the Ontario solar market, but there is a big difference between “free solar” and actual ownership of your solar system. This is perhaps the most important question to consider.

BONUS: at 13:09 we talk about what kind of ROI you can expect.

Why are others going solar?

Here are the 4 most common reasons we hear.

1. Solar is affordable

Today’s solar systems are more affordable than ever. Since 1980, the cost of solar cells has dropped by an average of 7% per year. As electricity prices continue to rise, it is always a good time to go solar.

2. Solar is clean

Solar energy has almost no impact on the global climate. The energy generated is both clean and renewable. Even better, it can be used to supply needs that are currently met by coal-fired generation. The production of solar energy emits virtually no CO2 in the production process and system components can be recycled after their average 40 year lifespan, producing minimal waste.

3. It’s a really good investment

There is considerable potential for profit and money savings through generating renewable energy. Incentive programs provide an opportunity to generate passive income based on the production of your installed solar system. In order to harness a solar system’s capabilities, consideration must be paid to what programs are available, your energy consumption, the current cost of components and the available space for a system installation on your property. Fortunately, Ontario’s renewable energy programs make our Province a perfect place to install solar.

An investment in a solar energy system can also improve the value of your home, thanks to its ability to lower the cost of heating and cooling (an attractive feature for potential homebuyers!). Solar systems are a fantastic investment in your home and will generate significant value, whether you plan to stay in your home or sell it.

4. Solar is simple

Traditional fossil fuel power goes through many steps to get to you. In the process, enormous amounts of harmful gasses and other particles are added to our air. Solar power goes directly from the sun to you. That’s as simple as it gets.

And just like the energy itself, the process for getting solar on your roof is very simple. We handle the entire project from beginning to end.

The costly journey to get coal/gas power to you. How about sun energy on tap? Simple and good for everyone.

Posted by EthoEnergy on Tuesday, 8 March 2016

But don’t just take our word for it all

Two recent studies revealed stunning statistics documenting just how good solar is for homeowners who chose it. We’ve summarized over 100 pages of multi-year research for you, spanning several North American regions and over 10,000 homes.

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