FAQ: Stuff we get asked a lot

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What's this I hear about a government rebate on solar?

It’s true! There is a government rebate available for new solar installations on residential properties in Nova Scotia. The rebate is currently set at $0.60 per watt, up to $6,000. Most of our installations are 10kW or more, meaning they qualify for the maximum amount. More details are available at Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Are you installing in my area?

Yes! We are currently booking installations for spring 2020 across Nova Scotia. Fill out our Get a Free Quote form with some information about your property and we’ll get back to you.

How long does installation take?

A typical installation takes about 3-5 days, with some time in between for inspections.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the system depends entirely on its size. We offer 10 year financing at a great interest rate on our turnkey packages, with no payments until May 2021. Fill out our Get a Free Quote form to help us determine the appropriate size and we can go from there!

What happens if I sell my house?

If you sell your home within the financing period, you have a couple of options: We can remove the solar panel system and install it on your new home, or you can buy out the remaining portion of the lease and sell the system with the house. The solar PV system and the electricity cost savings the new homeowner will enjoy should substantially increase the value of your home, and help it sell sooner.

Will my property taxes increase?

At this time there is no value added to the property assessment for solar PV systems.

What size system should I put on my home?

The system you should choose for your home depends on how much power you consume, and what percentage of your consumption you would like to generate through solar energy. There are other considerations as well; such as the available space for panels, and the load your electrical panel can carry. A good start is to look at your NS Power bill which tells you the power you have consumed in the last year, and then fill out our Get a Free Quote form so we can determine what size system will work best for you. Ideally, the annual production of the system should be about the same as your power consumption.

How can I figure out my power consumption?

On the right hand side of your power bill it lists your Past Electric Use. Add up the 6  previous billing periods and that will give your consumption for the last year.

Power Usage Example

How do I know if my roof is suitable?

We will do a preliminary assessment of your home to ensure its suitability, but if it faces to the south (optimal), or to the east or west or somewhere in between, and is unobstructed it should be a good candidate for solar panels. Other things to consider are age and condition, as well as the pitch.

Do the solar panels need to go on the roof, or is there somewhere else I can put them?

No, they don’t need to be on the roof. If you have an unobstructed area on your property it may be a great place to install solar panels. However, there are additional costs associated with a ground mounted system.

How long does the system last? Will it be as effective its entire life span, or will the amount of power it creates reduce over time?

Our panels and micro-inverters are BOTH warrantied for 25 years, and have a lifespan of more than 30 years. Our systems have a degredation factor of 0.35% per year.

Do I need batteries?

If your home is connected to the power grid, you do not need batteries. The electricity your panels generate during the day goes into the grid, and you draw power off the grid when you need it. This is called net-metering. However, your system will not produce electricity when the power is out, even if the sun is shining.

Do I need to contact Nova Scotia Power?

We’ll submit the application on your behalf when the time comes, but if you have specific questions you can certainly contact the net-metering department. You can get more information on net-metering here.

Can NS Power stop offering net metering?

No, but the Electricity Plan Implementation Act of 2015 said that at some point (to be determined by the provincial Energy Minister), NS Power can pay less for electricity delivered to its grid from solar systems than it charges for electricity drawn from its grid. The Energy Ministry expects this to be a number of years in the future, and the Electricity Act says that existing installations at that time are guaranteed 25 years of net metering with NS Power on the same terms we have today.

Do I have to be connected to the NS Power grid?

Electricity production from solar panels is very high in the spring/summer/fall but is fairly low in the winter so being on the grid is pretty essential for the winter unless you have some other way of generating power or storing power long term.

What happens in the winter, will snow stay on the panels?

Solar panels are smooth so snow doesn’t stick to them like it does to shingles. They are dark in colour and absorb sunlight, so when the sun shines, the panels heat up and the snow slides off. If there is a lot of accumulation and little sunlight for a period of time snow may build up on them, and you may want to look at safely removing it in order to achieve better production. 

Here’s a great example of snow coming off solar panels before the steeper metal roof next to it:

Snow on panels

What happens if my panels are damaged?

Solar panels are built to resist relatively extreme weather conditions. If you have a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy, the system will be insured against damage as part of your property.