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Avoid the headaches and cost of unplanned system outages: conduct regular inspections of your system for signs of wear and tear, aging, and damage from 3rd parties, like pesky rodents and birds.

For more information about our residential inspection program click here.

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Our new address is 550 Gilchrist Street in Peterborough. Come by and check it out, but if you're coming from far please call ahead to ensure someone will be there to meet you.

A Net Metering system and a MicroFIT system are exactly the same, technologically. The only difference is how your green electrons are counted (or metered) and what value they have.

A MicroFIT system sells 100% of your produced electricity to the grid at a fixed price on a long term contract. If your system generates consistently, then your income from the system will also be consistent over that 20 year period. The value of each kWh of energy you export is fixed for 20 years at the MicroFIT rate when your contract is offered. All MicroFIT income is taxable. Your electricity bills, based on your consumption, will continue as they did before the system was installed.

A Net Metered system also produces clean, green electricity but it goes into your own house first. That means that for every kWh you produce, your consumption from the grid is a kWh less. The benefit is the avoided cost of electricity. Note that this currently includes BOTH the direct cost of electricity AND a portion of the delivery charges. If you are producing more electricity than you are consuming then excess electricity goes out to the grid to be banked for later. The value of your solar electricity equals the avoided cost of electricity. As the cost of electricity rises, so does your benefit. Net metered benefit is not taxable. Your bills will be reduced by the value of your generation. The overall economics of a Net Metered system will depend on how much electricity rates rise in the coming years. Who thinks the cost of electricity will go up? Anyone? :)

As the MicroFIT rate drops and the cost of electricity rises the choice between MicroFIT and Net Metered trends away from MicroFIT and toward Net Metered. Right now, we think it's about a wash, depending on your preferences, marginal tax rates, and projections of electricity rates.

Now that's a lot to wrap your mind around. Give us a call and we can go over it with you! (705) 741-1700 or 1 877-747-6527. That's 1-877-74-SOLAR.

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Capitalize, capitalize, capitalize.

No, I don't mean your sentences. I mean your investment. MicroFIT income is taxable personal business income. That means you pay income tax on your MicroFIT income at your highest marginal rate. That's bad and may take a large chunk out of your MicroFIT benefit. But you can fight back:

If the income is business income, then the cost is a business cost. Your investment in your MicroFIT system is a capital expense that generates business income. You can write off your entire investment, over time, against the income. It's called 'depreciation' or, in Canada Revenue Agency language, Capital Cost Allowance (CCA). Every year you can take a portion of your initial investment and deduct it from your income at tax time, thus pay less tax. And that's a good thing. Right?

We're not tax accountants here at Generation Solar, but we want you to get the most benefit you can. Talk to a tax adviser for a full understanding on how it would benefit your particular situation. Be sure to *include* the total system cost, utility connection cost, in the CCA calculation.

And don't forget to deduct any system operating costs (maintenance, service calls, additional insurance costs, etc.) from MicroFIT revenues on an ongoing basis.

If you get yourself an HST number you can claim back the HST on all system costs. If not, then HST can be included in the CCA calculations, too. Note: Getting an HST number will allow you to maximize the return on your MicroFIT investment.

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On January 1, 2016, Version 3.3 of the microFIT Program comes into effect. The only change being made is the implementation of the 2016 Price Schedule; no other changes are being made to the microFIT Program at this time.

Full details of changes (none) and other updates can be found here.

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For more detail on the merger of the OPA and IESO click the following links:

For FIT projects

For MicroFIT projects

Here's an exciting project developed by a grass roots community energy co-operative: Community Power Northumberland. It's 3 separate systems spread over 4 buildings totalling over 1MW of solar!

While most of our work is 'turn-key', meaning we are responsible for the entire project, we also offer a variety of other services including engineering, commissioning, and construction. Here we're the constructor working for a general contractor, Solarize Energy LP.

A local reporter dropped by for an update; it hit the front page of the local paper. Here's the article.

Baltimore Arena Project Under Construction

Generation Solar is a full service renewable energy contractor. We provide design, supply, installation, and maintenance services. We're a licensed electrical contractor and our staff have years of experience installing and servicing renewable energy systems.

Not all installers and not all installations are the same. The explosion of MicroFIT installations in the years 2010 through 2012 resulted in a lot of contractors entering the market. Unfortunately, many of those contractors are now gone, or are not providing service to their installations.

If your system is underperforming or if you think it's not mechanically or electrically sound, call us and we can perform an inspection and commissioning. Do you have all the documentation for your system? owners manuals, copies of permits and inspection outcomes, OPA documentation.... these are items that some contractors fail to provide to owners. We can help you accumulate this information, information you should have had from the start.

Here's a testimonial for one such clent: "I was a great relief to find Generation Solar, after having numerous unpleasant dealings with my initial installer. Their responsiveness and professionalism were top notch. They represented me in dealings with my equipment manufacturer over a warranty issue and produced results that I don't feel I could have on my own. Most importantly, they did what they said they would and kept me informed every step of the way. I would not hesitate recommending Generation Solar and look forward to a continued relationship with them."

If you're within a roughly 60 minute driving radius of Peterborough, we'd be happy to help. This area includes Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Durham, Clarington, Haliburton, Quinte, Havelock, Madoc, Kawartha Highlands, Hastings, Northumberland.... You get the idea, I'm sure.

Call us to learn more.

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Generation Solar is owned by 2 people: JP Pawliw and Simon Boone. You can read about us on this website; just go to About Us and you see a bit about us and what we believe in. Do you want to talk to us? No problem. Just give us a call: 705 741 1700. You can ask to speak to either of us.

We feel it's important that you know who we are and have direct access to us. After all, you're hiring us and counting on us to get the job done right.

Have a look at other solar company websites. Who are you hiring? Who's responsible? Who do you call if you have a question or concern? Many websites don't even have an About Us page. Why not? In this day an age it's getting harder and harder to find authenticity on the web; how can you be confident that information presented on a webpage is authentic if the owner of the site doesn't even identify him or herself?

Of course making a person to person connection with individuals at a large company is tough; there are many many people, roles and staff shift and change, there may be many owners (other companies, even) who aren't involved at all in the daily business of the company.

If you want personal service you have to have a relationship with another person, a person who will listen to your needs and work to address them. You can't have a relationship with a web site or a phone number or even a '24 hour customer support desk'. A relationship with a sales person that ends once a contract is signed, to be passed onto another department, doesn't work either.

So when shopping for a contractor (solar or any other type) consider carefully just who you'll be working with and whether or not you foresee a constructive working relationship with that person. And don't commit to that contractor until you feel good about working with the people.

See also some tips on hiring a contractor.

Here are some customer comments about our people that make us proud:

  • "I just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the system you and your team installed. Things have been running great. Checking the inverter for the daily output has been part of my routine, and I enjoy counting the kW. Thanks so much for all the work, professionalism and guidance on this project. You and your team are great."
  • "Wanted you to know that Jackson and Geordie were Amazing and very helpful, hard working in the heat. They did an Awesome job and were very tidy, a hot weather bonus is probably in order though they did say they love working for you."
  • "Again, we very much appreciate your generosity in taking time to help us out. If you ever need testimonials, don't hesitate to contact us, we would contribute high praise of your firm and the competence of both you and JP."

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New FIT and MicroFIT price schedule:

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Domestic content requirements have been reduced such that the only requirement is for an Ontario company to do your installation. Naturally, we'd like that to be Generation Solar! As a result of these lower domestic content requirements, system costs have come down, thereby preserving the return on investment at the new price schedule rates.

So give us a call and we can discuss a solar project for your home or business.

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The Ontario Ministry of Energy has set some new targets for renewable procurement in Ontario. A number of changes will be implemented including greater control and participation for municipalities, a competitive process for large FIT (>500kW), and, most importantly for us and our clients, visibility on the MicroFIT and Small FIT (10 to 500kW) procurement targets.

The OPA has been charged with procuring 900MW over the next 4 years as follows:

  • 70MW and 30MW of FIT and MicroFIT, respectively, this fall;
  • 150MW and 50MW of FIT and MicroFIT each year for 4 years after that.

We don't know what pricing will be; that's up to the OPA and will probably be announced for the next window sometime in the early fall.

Also released by the OPA was an update of the FIT 2 process. Details can be found here.

Noteworthy are the following points:

  • 825MW of applications were received for 200MW of available contracts
  • only 193MW of those applications passed the first screens of completeness and eligibility, and will be proceeding to transmission and distribution availability testing (tat/dat)
  • all applicants have been notified
  • therefore if you've been notified that your application was approved, the only hurdle between now and your project being buildable is tat/dat, regardless of priority points.

If you've got a FIT 2 application in the process, or a FIT 1 project needing to be built, call us and we can help.

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The OPA has a 50MW procurement target that is rapidly filling up. By the end of May we expect the capacity to be allocated, and the MicroFIT rate (the price paid for your power) will drop again, probably by about 10 to 15%. Call us today to get your MicroFIT application started.

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MicroFIT 2.0 defines the 'nameplate capacity' as the larger of inverter size or array size. in other words, both your inverter and your PV array must be less than or equal to 10kW (=10,000W). Unfortunately, and strangely, this decision seems to have been made without the benefit of PV design experience.

Most contractors and system designers will be trying to hit exactly 10kW of array size (for systems unconstrained by roof area). This looks good on paper, but may result in poor system performance over the system's lifetime.

Common PV module sizing includes 250W modules, so 40 x 250W = 10kW quite nicely. Arrays with 40 modules (regardless of module size) will be designed in 4 strings of 10 modules. However, for most grid-tied inverters strings of 10 will result in poor hot weather performance, a problem that will get worse as the modules age. Such a system could spend a significant portion of each hot day not producing at all, as the array cannot sufficiently drive the inverter. (Just think of this past July: hot and sunny.)

Strings of 11, 12, or 13 are a much better design and that's what we use in our designs. So a system based on 44 x 225W modules = 9.9kW is a more robust design than 40 x 250W = 10kW. Similarly, 39 x 250W = 9.75kW is more robust than 40 x 250W, even though it's 250W smaller. In fact, strings of 13 represent the best design, maximizing system efficiency and prolonging inverter life.

String sizing issues can be eliminated all together by using micro-inverters. Whether or not micro-inverters are worth their premium price will depend on your site details.

Overall preferred system design will be based on your site. Call us to set up a site assessment and we can recommend a system design for you!

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90% of service calls for a solar energy system happen in the first few months after installation. This is natural, as owners are still growing accustomed to the behaviour and 'personality' of their equipment.

Some sources of concern are:

  • Lack of familiarity. What does that blinking light mean? Why is it doing <....>? How do I know it's working?
  • Inverter monitoring and communications: very common source of problems, but usually owing to changes or weaknesses in the owner's home network.
  • Questions about system performance: Am I getting as much energy generated as I should be getting?
  • Problems with paperwork from the OPA or local distribution company

For these and any other concerns we want to be sure that our installation meets your expectations for quality, performance, and function and if we can't solve the problem over the phone, then we'll come to your site. In order to provide high quality and responsive on-site service we keep our working radius to generally a 1 hour radius of our Peterborough home base. This includes Peterborough, Norwood, Havelock, Madoc, Lakefield, Northumberland, Cobourg, Port Hope, Clarington, Port Perry, Lindsay, Oshawa, Kawartha Lakes, Buckhorn, Apsley, Fenelon Falls, Tweed, and many points in those areas. We do work further afield for special projects.

So ask the contractors you're having quote your job where their home base is. If it's more than 90 minutes away, you can be sure that they will be hesitant to send someone out to investigate a problem because it's just too costly to have that person spend so much time in a truck.

Buy local for best service.

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Summary of recommended changes to the FIT and MicroFIT programs:

New Price Schedule:

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Other significant points:

  • One MicroFIT per owner (was one per property)
  • CFIT (Commercial FIT, MicroFIT for businesses) will not be launched
  • No indication about procedure for the new price tranches (ie 10 - 100kW)
  • MicroFIT projects must be completed in 6 months from approval (same as before); FIT projects must be completed in 18 months (was 3 years)

Read the full FIT review report here.

Next Steps: The review was conducted by the Ministry of Energy and constitutes recommendations to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The OPA will now create rules and processes to meet the recommendations. No word on how long that will take. Final conclusions on the success of the FIT review will depend on the details established in the new rules.

Check back often for updates!

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The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) has released an update regarding the Ontario Feed-In-Tariff review that is underway:

Ongoing discussions between Ministry of Energy and CanSIA staff have continued throughout the FIT review process. More recently, on February 15th, CanSIA met with the Ontario Premier's Office.

We understand that the Ministry of Energy is carefully reviewing almost 3,000 submissions and is now in the process of making decisions on some of the major program elements, such as FIT prices, local consultations, and the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process.

The Ministry of Energy and the Premiers Office have stated their commitment to release the results of the review and restart the FIT process as quickly as possible. CanSIA continues to advocate the need to expedite the review, and changes that are needed to the program so that we can bring to fruition a strong solar industry in Ontario. At the same time, CanSIA continues to advise against changes that could harm the solar industry or put jobs and investments at risk.

In particular, CanSIA continues to stress the urgency to have the microFIT program restarted as soon as possible and before the rest of the FIT program. The Ministry of Energy is taking this advice under consideration.

Read the full document: CanSIA Update: Ontario FIT Review

Comments from Deputy Minister Fareed Amin were released February 7th, 2012.

So, no news is no news. Not much of an update but, there you have it just the same. We continue to await release of the new rates and rules in order to get your projects underway, and will keep you updated as new information is available.

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OPA MicroFIT contract applications require a number of pieces of information. Anyone who has this information can apply for a MicroFIT contract on your behalf, whether you are aware of it or not. This is a bad thing because once a MicroFIT application is accepted for your property, further applications will be ineligible. This means that you may have great difficulty down the road making an intended application, either yourself or through a reputable contractor. The original, unintended, application (dare I call it fraudulently submitted?) will have to come under your control or be terminated before your intended project can proceed.

How to avoid fraudulently submitted MicroFIT applications

Control access to the following information:

  • Local Distribution Company (LDC) account number and name on the account
  • Legal description of your property (lot, concession, etc.)
  • Property Instrument Number (PIN)
  • Tax roll number

Only give this information to a contractor once you've decided to work with that contractor and have a signed contract that clearly indicates how the application process will proceed. Only work with a contractor who gives you access to the MicroFIT project web portal (username and password).

What if there is an application already submitted?

If you know or suspect that an application has been made without your explicit consent then demand confirmation from the contractor and demand access to the OPA MicroFIT web portal (username and password). Once you have access change the password. If you do not get access to the web portal then contact the OPA and send them all the information listed above. Request the status of any applications connected to any of those pieces if identity and explain your suspicion of fraudulently submitted applications. Don't expect to hear back for 3 weeks.

If a contractor started an application for you are you tied to that contractor?

No. You are only bound by any contract that you may have signed. If there is no contract and you wish to not proceed with that contractor than demand access to your web portal and change the password. If you signed a contract and changed your mind you may be liable for costs to the contractor as outlined in your contract.

If a contract application exists always try to get control of it, rather than having it terminated. That way you get the benefit of the early time stamp on the original application vs the later time stamp on a new application

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The MicroFIT and FIT program review process includes the temporary suspension of the program during the review. This means that any applications submitted today will be subject to whatever the new rules and pricing is once the review process is finished. How can plan your project without knowing the terms and pricing that you'll get?

MicroFIT

There is no cost to apply to the MicroFIT program. There is no risk to apply. By applying now you reserve your place in the queue once the OPA resumes processing applications based on the new rules. If you don't like the new terms you can abandon your application. We recommend proceeding with an application. We can help.

FIT

FIT applications require a small amount of work and a modest application fee. The OPA has pledged to refund application fees for applicants unhappy with the revised terms. FIT applications, then, are free of risk and valuable for securing a spot in the processing queue. We recommend proceeding with an application.Contact us and we can help.

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Like Ontario, the UK has a young and very popular FIT program. Like in Ontario, UK politicians are concerned about the cost of the FIT program. And so, like in Ontario, the UK is in the process of re-evaluating the details of the program and will be lowering FIT contract pricing.

Unlike Ontario, the UK appears to be going about this in a transparent and fair manner. Namely:

  • The UK government is sharing the financial assumptions and evaluations on which it is basing its decisions; and
  • The effectivity of the changes will be after they're announced, giving the whole supply chain time to adapt to the change while still actually operating on the existing pipeline of projects.

There are differences, of course, between the two programs. The UK program is funded from a set reserve that is intended to last a set number of years. If the reserve runs out early, the program won't be achieving its time targets. This closed-end program has clear limits to work within. The Ontario program is open-ended, and that makes people very edgy.

Another difference is scale, but this is interesting: The UK program, which is a bit younger than the Ontario program, has encouraged over 100,000 household-scale systems to be installed since it started, totalling over 400MW of production. In Ontario, up to the end of October, the MicroFIT program has resulted in a mere 8,494 connected projects totalling 73MW of installed capacity. The 'success' of the UK program is evident (in the context of needing to throttle back); that of the Ontario program is less so. (Apparently there is a large number of MicroFIT projects in the queue, but for some reason this does not seem to be translating into actual construction; we're not sure why.)

Of course the best example of a FIT working well remains Germany, where FIT price degression is prescriptive based on installed capacity. IE if the market grows by X, the rate will drop by Y. If the market fails to grow by X, the FIT rate will not drop until it does. This creates a very stable marketplace because the entire industry knows exactly how large the market will be at a given FIT rate, and so can plan accordingly. Note that Germany is on track to install 5000MW of solar in 2011 alone.

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Ontarians should be proud of North America's most progressive FIT program. However Ontarians should also be upset that the OPA appears to be violating both the spirit and letter of its own FIT rules in this Scheduled Program Review. Namely:

  • FIT Rule 7.1(b) stipulates that
    The price incorporated into the FIT Contract that will be offered to applicants whose Applications have been accepted ... will be the applicable price as set out in the Price Schedule at the time of the Time Stamp.
    The Time Stamp is the date and time of electronic submission, as defined in Section 4.1(a). Clearly, back-dating the effectiveness of this change violates rule 7.1(b)
  • FIT Rule 10.1(b) stipulates that
    Notice of any Amendment as a result of a Scheduled Program Review will be posted on the Website at least 30 days prior to the effective date of such Amendment.
    For MicroFIT rule 7(b) states
    Notice of any amendment as a result of a Scheduled Program Review will be posted on the microFIT Program website at least 90 days before the effective date of the amendment
    Clearly, then, the earliest possible effectivity date for any changes as a result of this review would be 30 days (90 days for microFIT) after October 31st, when the Scheduled Program Review was announced. Any applications Time Stamped prior to that should be eligible for the rules prior to the Amendment.
  • The FIT program was conceived to help create a stable and predictable market for renewable energy in Ontario and thereby establish and grow a new manufacturing sector. This point was made several times during the OPA conference call on November 2nd, 10am EDT. By back-dating the effectiveness of the Program Review and by having an open-ended program review the OPA is starving the market of projects that were applied for long ago and effectively blocking the market from securing new projects until the completion of the Review (and a known set of program rules and pricing). This is yet another in a series of disruptions to the marketplace by the OPA, the sum of which acts as a tremendous disincentive to all levels of the supply chain: Customers lose confidence in the solidity of the program and, by association, the viability of the technology; the entire pipeline of work dries up forcing layoffs by installers, distributors, and manufacturers; and financiers lose confidence in Ontario as a place to invest. This is not a stable and predictable market.

The OPA and the Minister of Energy need to be called out on these apparent contract violations and clear market disruptions. Supporters of solar in Ontario should contact their MPP and the Minister of Energy and complain that the FIT Review Process is flawed and is causing significant harm to a nascent industry that is only just getting established.

Here's a link to the announcement

Email Minister Bentley

Wall Mount Installation
It has been a great pleasure working with you, the project has gone very smoothly. We are very pleased and we look forward to continuing our relationship with you over the next 20 years as we generate power.
I was a great relief to find Generation Solar, after having numerous unpleasant dealings with my initial installer. Their responsiveness and professionalism were top notch. They represented me in dealings with my equipment manufacturer over a warranty issue and produced results that I don't feel I could have on my own. Most importantly, they did what they said they would and kept me informed every step of the way. I would not hesitate recommending Generation Solar and look forward to a continued relationship with them.
I just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the system you and your team installed. Things have been running great. Checking the inverter for the daily output has been part of my routine, and I enjoy counting the kW. Thanks so much for all the work, professionalism and guidance on this project. You and your team are great.
Wanted you to know that Jackson and Geordie were Amazing and very helpful, hard working in the heat. They did an Awesome job and were very tidy, a hot weather bonus is probably in order though they did say they love working for you.

See more....