Frequently asked questions
- I run a business. Can I write off this investment?
Yes. Further, you can write it off 100% in year 1. See the government’s Accelerated Investment Incentive for more information.
- I’m buying/selling a building. Can you do a system inspection?
Yes! Nobody likes surprizes. We can provide a condition assessment report for the buyer or the seller much like a home inspection. We can tell you if there are any safety or functional issues and if you give us access to your data logs we can evaluate historical performance.
- I’m selling my house. Can I sell my MicroFIT system?
Yes! MicroFIT contracts are tied to the property. The contract can be assigned to the buyer of your house. It’s up to you to strike a deal with the buyer, but once agreed, we can help you with the required paperwork to assign the system to the new owner.
- My contractor is gone! Can you help?
Yes! Many solar contractors have come and gone over the last 10 years. Some have left significant problems behind. We can evaluate your system and make recommendations for maintenance, repairs, upgrades, or whatever you need.
- What is the system warranty?
Most main products (solar modules, inverters, racking, etc) carry a 10 year warranty. Generation Solar installations come with a 2 year no-cost warranty. If anything goes wrong with a product or with our installation in the first 2 years we’ll just fix it.
- Should I clear the snow off my panels?
Generally, no. Cleaning snow off roof mounted solar modules poses risks to you and your equipment and we recommend against taking these risks. If you decide to proceed be sure to use a plastic or rubber device and keep clear of any falling snow! If it’s stuck, leave it there and wait for a thaw.
- My roof faces East/West. Is that a problem?
Solar arrays that face East or West will not perform as well as those facing South. Expect to lose on the order of 10 to 25% of performance for an array facing due East or West compared to one facing South.
- What angle is best for my roof?
Solar arrays that face South and have an angle of between 30 and 35 degrees (measured to the horizontal, roughly corresponds to a 7/12 pitch) are best for average annual generation. But reduction in system performance for shallower or steeper roofs is small; roof pitch is not a barrier to installing a system.
- What maintenance is required for a solar electric system?
Keep an eye on your system’s energy output at least monthly. Your online monitoring system is the best tool for this job. Do a visual inspection of the entire system, even just from the ground, at least yearly. Look for any parts that have moved or show signs of mechanical wear or storm damage. Look for wires hanging down and any signs of animal damage. Binoculars might be handy for this.
That said, there are a number of potential issues that you will not be able to spot. We recommend a periodic comprehensive preventative maintenance inspection.
- How often are repairs needed?
The most common service would be an inverter repair or replacement. The inverter is, after all, the most complex part of the entire system. Inverter failures are very rare, but if they do occur it’ll most likely be within the first 3 months of service. Inverter warrantees are generally 10 years and have a design life of 25 years.
- How much decrease in efficiency will the PV panels see over their lifetime?
All PV panels degrade over time, somewhere between 0.5% and 1% per year and flattening out over time. Current PV panels come with a 25 year performance warrantee based on 0.5% to 0.7% per year of performance degradation. The warranty is usually for 90% performance after 10 years, and 80% performance after 25 years. The performance is relative to the nameplate performance of the PV module.
- How does one chose a solar panel? Is efficiency most important?
Contrary to common belief, solar panels, or ‘modules’, are NOT all the same. A module is a very simple device, in that it has no moving parts, but there are broad variations in the overall design of the module, the quality of the parts it’s made from, and the quality of its construction. A high quality module will have better components and better construction and the result is a higher ‘energy yield’ over its lifetime than a lower quality module. More energy = more benefit for the system owner.
Module efficiency is separate from quality. However since both quality and efficiency command a premium price, most high efficiency modules are also high quality modules. Module efficiency is mainly a factor when roof space is limited. Efficiency is a measurement of output per unit of area, so a small roof can produce more energy by using a high efficiency module. On a larger roof, where space is not a constraint, lower system cost can be achieved buy using high quality, mid efficiency, modules.
We sell only modules that we feel are high quality and offer good ‘long term energy yield’, be they mid or high efficiency.
- Will a solar energy system affect my property taxes?
No. Electricity Generation Equipment is exempt from assessment per Section 3.18 of the Assessment Act.
- Can I claim the HST on my MicroFIT system?
Yes! Canada Revenue Agency allows HST claims on eligible MicroFIT projects. The purchase and installation of MicroFIT solar systems will be interpreted as a ‘Capital Personal Property’, which is eligible for an HST ITC. See here for a relevant information sheet:
Or you can skip the HST number and just capitalize the HST along with your system cost and connection cost, then depreciate the whole amount year after year. As always, consult a tax adviser for details.
- How do I know if solar is right for me?
First: Evaluate your objectives. What are you ultimately after? A return on your investment? A greener planet? Energy security? All are valid objectives; try to prioritize them. Be honest. Your prioritized objectives will help us point you in a direction that will best satisfy you.
- Why would I choose Generation Solar?
Renewable energy contracting has been our exclusive focus since our founding in 1998. We’ve installed hundreds of systems in a wide variety of settings. We do all our own installations and we excel at problem solving and tackling complicated jobs. We teach renewable energy, have consulted to federal and provincial policy development committees, and we have been active in our industry association, occupying board positions for many years.
Generation Solar is a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Our principals are Professional Engineers and licensed tradesmen. Our crew is covered by WSIB and carry appropriate training certifications. We carry $5M in contractors liability insurance.
Generation Solar is a small and flexible organization with broad skills. We adapt to meet our clients’ needs.
We are professionals, first. We pride ourselves in building high quality client relationships and in being reliable and trustworthy. Most of our new business comes from referrals and our client feedback is consistently positive. We love what we do, and it shows.