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Image by Jeremy Allouche

FAQ

LEARN HOW WE POWER YOUR HOME

  • What are the financial benefits of solar power?
    When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on BC Hydro’s rates, your electricity consumption and the size of the system. Going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.
  • Are there any government incentives available?
    Yes, BC has a 7% PST exemption on all solar parts when purchased as a package to produce energy. Also, as of May 2021 the federal government announced the Greener Homes Grant program which can save you up to $5000 on your solar install. In August 2022, the Greener Homes grant program implemented an interest free loan with a 10 year payback of up to $40,000. Learn more.
  • How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?
    Solar panels absorb the sun's energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.
  • What is the residential installation process like from start to finish?
    Making the decision to switch to solar is a great choice. However, getting started and understanding the process can often be daunting for those unfamiliar with the industry. Oceanvolt Solar & EV provides turnkey systems and takes care of all of the permitting, net metering application, etc. Here is a list of the steps for a typical residential installation: 1. Initial estimate – If high-quality satellite images are available, we can provide accurate estimates for system size and energy production for your specific house. 2. Site assessment – We visit the site to obtain detailed site-specific information required for a solar installation including detailed roof measurements, electrical capacity of your electrical system and a shading analysis (if required). For a new construction home, we can design a system right from the architectural drawings. 3. System design and quote – We design a system specific to your roof space, budget and electricity needs. We provide you with a document showing what your home will look like with solar on the roof as well as an economic analysis. 4. Permitting and grid connection application – We take care of all the permitting required and the net metering application to connect the system to the grid. 5. Installation and commissioning – We will install and commission your system. 6. Final walk through with the homeowner.
  • Can I monitor my solar panels production?
    Yes, each individual system has its own lifetime monitoring with no subscription which can be accessed through a smartphone tablet or computer.
  • Do solar panels work when the power goes out?
    If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, when paired with a battery storage system the panels will continue to produce power to charge the batteries and supply essential loads.
  • Is BC a good place for solar?
    While we may not get as much sun as the southern US, solar actually performs better in colder temperatures, meaning that Canadians will produce a lot of energy in the cooler spring and fall months. In fact, most of BC boasts more sunshine than Germany, who is a world leader in solar PV.
  • How much does a solar power system cost?
    *Electricity production varies with roof angle, shading, etc. **System costs vary depending on the difficulty of the installation, roof type, roof vs ground mount, and other factors. ***Savings determined after the system has paid itself off. Savings vary based on consumption numbers, current rebates, etc.
  • What is net metering?
    Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.
  • How do I know if solar is right for me?
    Making an investment in solar is a personal decision, so only you can answer that. Some questions that you may want to ask yourself include: 1. Am I concerned about the rising BC Hydro power prices? 2. Would I prefer to continue paying my BC Hydro bills for the next 30 years, or own my own solar power production? 3. Do I want to invest in my property and raise its market value? 4. Do I plan on purchasing an electric car or already own one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then solar might be right for you.
  • Do I need batteries for my solar system?
    No. Though battery backup systems like the Enphase Encharge & Tesla Powerwall are becoming more popular, such systems are not required in order to harness solar energy. Grid tied solar PV systems are designed to export excess power back to BC Hydro. Rather than being stored in an on site battery system like the Encharge, the electrical grid itself serves as a kind of informal battery, since PV systems feed energy into it when they are producing more than you need, and you can still pull electricity from the grid at any time on demand.
  • What should I look out for when obtaining solar quotes?
    As you are gathering quotes it's a good thing to do your own research on what panels and inverters each company is offering. These are the main components of a solar system, quality and efficiency can vary substantially from brand to brand. Cheaper parts have higher failure rates and efficiency defects. Ensure that the quote lists what parts are being proposed so there are no surprises.
  • What happens if I sell my solar house?
    As long as your equipment remains in place, you can transfer your product warranties to the new owner of the system at no cost.
  • Can I install solar panels on the ground?
    Yes, ground mount solar systems are a great option when roof space is limited. Ground mount systems can be easier to install, maintain and clean.
  • Are BC Hydro rates rising?
    Yes, according to the provincial government BC Hydro rates have gone up by 25% since 2013, and by more than 70% since 2001. By installing solar panels you can protect yourself from these rising rates for the next 30+ years. Why rent your power when you can produce your own.
  • Why should I go solar now?
    Simply put – the sooner you get solar, the sooner you will enjoy its benefits! If you wait for some unproven technology down the road, you will have missed the opportunity to generate your own power now. Solar is like saving for retirement – the sooner you start doing it, the better.
  • Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar panels?
    Solar energy systems can last for 25 to 35 years, and it can be costly to remove and reinstall them if you need to replace your roof. If your roof needs maintenance in the near term, you should complete it before you start your solar installation.
  • What kind of maintenance is required for a solar system?
    Solar panels are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. To maintain peak efficiency, we recommend cleaning the panels 1-2 times a year to reduce the build-up of pollen, road dust and fall out from nearby trees.
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