Can a farm benefit from installing Solar PV?

Absolutely. Most farms are heavy electricity users and can also benefit from various federal tax incentives in addition to the Manitoba Hydro Rebate.

The rebate is available to both residential and commercial applications to a maximum of $200,000. That is a big rebate cheque to install technology that will reduce your electricity bill. We have seen annual ROI’s on the solar investment as high as 12% annually for commercial projects. Contact us now to learn how your farm can benefit and save money on your electricity costs.

How does this affect my roof?

For a penetrating mount, i.e. sloped roof mount (most residential premises), the penetration has both a flashing (metal flap to re-direct water), and sealant (roof caulking).

For a flat roof (many commercial propertied), we use a non-penetrative installation that has the panels weighed down with concrete blocks.

What happens when there is snow build up on the Solar PV Panels here in Manitoba?

The panels are dark and gather enough sun to melt some of the snow and normally keep them clear.

With little sunlight during our winter days, Manitoba winters do not yield much electricity compared to the power produced in our summer months.

The cost of snow removal or danger in doing it yourself is much more than what the production will be from the panels in the winter months.

Ideally you are building up a credit in the summer months to help reduce your bill in the winter months. It is always important to understand your annual ROI on these projects, rather than monthly

What happens to excess power?

Excess power will flow out to the grid, and essentially spin your meter backwards. You will get credit for the excess power you produce.

From a physics point of view, the extra electricity will flow through your distribution (breaker) panel and out to the grid. From there it will flow to the nearest load, which will be your neighbor’s house. During the day when you and your neighbors aren’t home your solar panels will likely be powering your immediate neighbors’ fridges, air conditioners or furnaces.

What if I move, can I take the equipment with me?

Yes, however research out of the United States suggests the solar panels actually increase the equity in your home and you can get a higher purchase price during the sale of your home.

How does this affect my equity?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers a useful guide when determining how much your property’s value will go up. According to its research, each additional $1 in energy bill savings (from your solar installation) adds $20 to your home’s total value.

What is the basic difference between Monocrystalline and Polycrystallinesolar panels?

Monocrystalline cells are made from a single crystal of ultra pure silicon. They are the original silicon solar cell and they are still the most efficient today. Mono cells are typically a little more expensive since they’re a little more difficult to manufacture. The benefit of mono cells is that they perform slightly better under low light conditions equating to better production on cloudy days versus polycrystalline panels. How much better? Well that is a topic for discussion as there has been little local data to prove this here in Ontario. Suffice to say, you may get up to about .5% better production per annum using mono cells versus using polycrystalline.

Polycrystalline cells are made up of multiple crystals and are generally less expensive to manufacture than mono cells. The gap in performance has narrowed significantly over the years to the point where they are very close. Since Polycrystalline panels are made up of several crystals, this means that they also absorb less sunlight and produce slightly less than mono cells per metre squared.

What is the basic difference between a 60 cell and 72 cell solar panel?

The 60-cell module (approximately 5’6” x 3’3”) and the 72-cell module (approximately 6’6” x 3’3”). 72-cell modules are most often used for commercial applications and 60-cell modules are the module of choice for residential installs.

The 60-cell modules still have an advantage over larger modules in that they are more rigid, can be carried by one person, and more modules can be fit onto complicated rooftop designs.

How do we monitor the health, happiness and production of our solar panels?

This is a great question and one that gets asked a lot. All systems come with a web-based monitoring package so you can log in and see each panel’s performance. This web-based monitoring will also help in the maintenance of your system, since problems can be more quickly and affordably diagnosed and fixed. You can also use this data to showcase your financial intelligence and sustainable practices to stakeholders, customers, employees but most importantly yourself. Check out one of our systems that just went live at this public link

How does installing solar panels affect my property Insurance?

The insurance companies we have spoken with consider solar energy systems as a built-in part of your home. You will need to inform your insurance company of the value of the system. So far, our customers have not had to pay any additional costs on their property insurance.

Will having solar panels installed give me emergency back-up in the event of a power failure?

Grid-tied solar panels have a built in safety feature called anti-islanding. This feature causes the panel to shut off when it senses the grid has gone down. Panels have this feature to prevent energizing a power line and damaging homes, businesses, and hurting electrical workers.

If you would like emergency back-up, Solar Manitoba can design a battery system to meet your needs.

How do I go off-grid?

Off-grid requires batteries to be installed. Going off-grid is a complicated process and requires that we balance the amount of battery charging (amount produced by solar panels) with the battery discharge (energy consumed by your property).