Aside from the relatively short-term costs of construction, completed homes later incur monthly costs of operation. The heating air conditioning, appliances, ventilation, and let’s not forget temperature control are all factors that affect energy costs. At times, eco-friendly solutions are promoted and fail to mention the significant advantages that these solutions provide for those who spent the money upfront! Solar is just one of the many ways that we can utilize eco-friendly solutions to reduce our operating costs and environmental impacts resulting in greater cost savings.
Just as technological advances are made in retail, healthcare and automobile industries, they are also made in the renewable energy industry. Perhaps months or even years have passed since last reading up on solar yet many old myths still surround the space. For example, a common misconception is that solar panels don’t pay for themselves. This is a prime example of thinking resulting from inquiries 5 to 10 years ago. Depending on the efficiency of a home and the province it is in, solar panels can pay for themselves in 8 to 12 years and in some instances support a Net Positive home where homeowners earn credits on their bill for providing power to the grid. Many also believe that solar panels just "aren’t there yet". This stems from the fact that these systems yield benefit in long-term economics as opposed to immediate gain, all despite the fact that they can supply 100% clean energy to meet a home’s demands. Additionally, many think that solar energy is too intermittent to be viable. This point presents some truth however, the fact that homes remain connected to the grid and batteries can now store sunlight captured during the day means that this argument now carries less concern for the majority of consumers.
Solar and Backyard Homes (Benefits)
Natural gas plants are a common method of electricity production in Ontario. Every Kilowatt hour of electricity that is produced harnessing the sun’s energy through solar panels reduces the amount of natural gas we burn as well as the greenhouse gas emissions we produce. Compared to 15 or 20 years ago, the cost of solar equipment has dropped significantly over the past decade and this reduction in capital costs along with panel financing is making solar more feasible for families to install. Storing energy is just as important as collecting it and fortunately, solar panels can be coupled with Tesla Power walls to provide quiet backup power.
Benefits vary from person to person however, one of the advantages is the fact that you can produce your own power and reduce your reliance on the grid. As electricity costs increase for everyone else, you continue to collect savings over time and you can be an early adopter as the green economy and standards continue to grow in Ontario. These benefits are consistent with backyard homes because the electricity required by the additional unit can be offset by Active Solar on the roof of the suite or the roof of the primary residence. The offset of electricity cost can be especially helpful when the backyard home is used for rental purposes by allowing the sun to cover a tenant’s energy costs therefore, putting more in your pocket.
Modern solar panels are designed to be much tougher than they look and unlike car engines or other machinery, solar panels have no moving parts. Solar panels are designed to withstand heavy rain, high winds, snow and hail. This means that day-to-day maintenance is virtually non-existent, especially for residential installations. Areas with heavy snow may require the clearing to ensure the system functions optimally, but still, this task is pretty insignificant because in Ontario we have the privilege of seeing sun year-round. This means that during the day as the solar panels heat up the snow melts off of them and overall, this only affects the production of the system by less than 4% every year. Aside from a panel’s ability to withstand climatic factors, care must be taken to ensure that rodents or birds don’t damage exposed wires. One of the best ways to do this is with the use of a weather resistant wire mesh called a ‘critter guard’.
Click HERE to schedule a FREE Solar assessment for your home or laneway suite.