- photovoltaics (PV) » indepth
Photovoltaic (PV) collectors absorb
light energy from the sun for the generation
of electricity. The power generated can be fed back into the
main electrical grid, or be used as a self-contained system with
batteries. The need for electricity in remote areas prompted the
growth of the PV industry over the past 30 years. Initially, the
main purposes were to power items used in space exploration and
to power cottages and houses that did not have access to the main
power grid, usually located in remote locations. This prompted the
growth of systems that utilized a series of battery banks for storing
the electricity. These systems are still being employed today with
more efficient batteries and other equipment.
Today, systems generating electricity that feed
into the main electrical power grid are becoming more common and
are growing in popularity. Individual homeowners now
have the opportunity to take control and effectively generate their
own power, thus lessening the burden and dependence on fuel sources
such as nuclear and coal. At the same time, it
offers the homeowner financial benefits.
Green Energy & Economy
Act and Feed-In Tariff
The Green Energy & Economy Act (GEA) and the
Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program were introduced in 2009 by the provincial
government of Ontario. The GEA included several measures for incentives
for renewable energies. As part of the GEA, it introduced the FIT
program. The Feed-In Tariff program can be divided into two categories,
the FIT program for electrical
generation projects greater than 10 kW in size, and the microFIT
program for electrical generation projects 10 kW or less
in size. For information about the GEA, visit the Ministry
of Energy's Web site.
For microFIT rooftop systems,
the homeowner/business owner is compensated 38.4¢ per
kWh of electricity generated. To accomplish this, the system
owner signs a contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The
contract provides 38.4¢ per kWh for a period of 20
years. For microFIT ground-mount systems, the owner is
compensated a lesser rate of 28.9 ¢ per kWh of electricity
generated. The OPA is the organization that executes the directives
of the Green Energy & Economy Act, including the FIT and microFIT
programs. For information about the OPA, visit the OPA
Basics of a PV installation
systems can range from 75 watts (W) to 10 kilowatts (kW) for
the microFIT program.
no “standard” size for a system. System sizes
usually vary with the different manufacturers of the PV panels
and inverters. For example, one manufacturer may offer a 190
W PV panel. Ten panels of this size would yield a system size
of 1900 W – or a nameplate rating of 1.9 kW. A different
manufacturer may offer a 175 W panel. Ten panels of this size
would yield a system size of 1750 W – or a nameplate
rating of 1.75 kW. Commonly, it is a good practice to value
a system as to the cost per watt.
It is best to have the PV panels facing
due south to maximize energy production. Within a southeast
to southwest will result in a minor drop in performance.
homes have a sloped roof. Rooftop mounted systems on homes
are usually mounted parallel to the roof surface of the house.
Most commercial buildings have flat roof
surfaces. Rooftop mounted systems on commercial buildings
usually employ specialized racking to provide for the correct
mounting angle of the PV panels.
Building Code requires a building permit to be obtained for
installations that have a panel surface area greater than
5 square metres (m²).
What we do
We provide a free consultation and site assessment to allow
the homeowner to make an informed decision.
an energy analysis using simulation software to predict a
more precise amount of energy that could be generated, based
on the installation variables such as orientation, tilt angle,
and type of panel.
a complete breakdown of the installation costs.
you through the process with the OPA and your local distribution
company to help you meet schedule targets.
with permit applications to meet the requirements of the Ontario
Building Code and local municipalities. We can also arrange
for any required roof inspections.
|| We provide you a step-by-step
guide to help you through the process.