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News » London Solar News » June 2010

June 2010

Volume I, Issue 1

In this issue

- Welcome

- Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

- Featured product: solar pool heating

- Social networking

Welcome to the first edition of London Solar News, brought to you by SunTap Technologies. Today, June 21, we celebrate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. With all of that solar power reaching the Earth, it is potentially the best day of the year to generate energy from the sun, the ultimate renewable resource.

In this issue, we discuss the impending Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and its impacts on purchasing solar products. We also talk about our featured product of solar pool heating.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to shoot us an e-mail with any comments or questions to


Mike and Tim

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

The Government of Ontario is implementing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on July 1, 2010. This will mean an increase of 8% on many day-to-day expenses, particularly electricity and heating fuels. Currently there is only 5% GST on electricity, natural gas, heating oil, and propane, but the implementation of the HST will add another 8% on top of these utilities, bringing the total government tax to 13%.

The HST will also increase labour charges by 8% to 13% from the current GST-only 5% so unfortunately, the HST also means that we as installers, and all other people performing labour at a household, have to charge the 13% HST instead of the current 5% GST.

What does all this mean to you as a homeowner? If you're currently paying a total of $200 a month to London Hydro (or another utility company) for electricity, you'll be paying an additional $16 per month. Multiply that over 12 months in the year and you're looking at $192 in more tax. The province is also implementing smart meters in the near future, which will also increase your electricity bill. Your hydro bill is going not going to be pretty over the next few months!

Whether your water heater is fuelled by electricity or natural gas, solar domestic water heating can reduce your overall water-heating bill by 50 to 60%. Water heating uses about 20% of a household's total energy needs, so you'll save at least $27 a month on average based on a $216 electricity bill and a $54 natural-gas bill, for an average total energy bill of $270. That covers the increase from the HST and puts money back in your pocket at the same time.

If you don't use much hot water in the home, another consideration is solar electricity. The Ontario government will pay you 80.2¢/kWh over a 20-year contract for electricity provided to the grid by using solar power. A typical system rated at 2 kW can produce about 2.5 MWh of energy a year, putting roughly $2000 into your bank account each year. It's a guaranteed investment with a higher return than RRSPs and the stock market, and you're also being green.

To learn more about the HST, go to

Featured product: solar pool heating

Solar pool heating is the most cost-effective method of heating your pool at a cost of under 2¢ per kWh. Solar pool heaters are designed to replace the need for a gas heater or electric heat-pump, plus you can add two months to your pool season with free heat from the sun.

As with your household utilities, if you're currently heating your pool with natural gas or electricity, your bill is going to increase by 8% with the new Harmonized Sales Tax. The fuel costs below are pre-HST:

Fuel type Natural gas Electricity


Approximate fuel cost, including taxes and additional charges (¢/kWh) 45 to 55 ¢/m³
(roughly 4.5 to 5.5 ¢/kWh)
10 to 13 ¢/kwh 1.5 to 2.3 ¢/kWh
Estimated lifetime of pool heater 5 to 10 years 5 to 15 years 25 years

In order to determine the size of the solar system, you need to know the dimensions of your pool. For example, a 16'x32' pool has a surface area of 512 square feet. In order to heat your pool between 10 to 15 °F for the season, you'll need half of the surface area (256 square feet for a 16'x32') for the solar collectors. The solar collectors come in standard sizes but custom sizes make up about 50% of all orders and therefore the cost is negligible compared to a standard order.

If you're looking for a warmer pool this summer, solar is definitely the way to go!

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