There are many reasons why you should go solar. Saving the environment, increasing property value and more, but did you also know that it can save you money?
The cost of solar keeps falling and the number of installations keeps rising. Whether your motivations for considering going solar are economic, environmental, or personal – solar benefits have something for everyone.
We’ve made a list of these benefits and selected the top 6 reasons
why you should switch from traditional electricity to solar power.
1. Reduce utility bills
Utility bills can take up a considerable chunk of your monthly
budget. Like it or not, it can sometimes be disheartening to just give
money away to utility companies when we know we could do more for less.
Installing solar panels can make you reduce your monthly electricity bill up to 100 percent.
2. Earn from net metering
Speaking of saving, why not push the bar higher and start earning some money from solar power?
Net metering gets you some returns on your investment in solar panels installed on your roof.
Although solar panels require a hefty upfront installation fee, some utility companies pay you to go solar through their net metering program.
The program lets eligible customers with specific generation
facilities reduce their net energy costs by exporting surplus generated
energy back to the utility distribution system for credit against energy
the customer consumes from the distribution system.
3. Protect from energy cost inflation
Economic inflations are not a good sign. Consumers can be in an
uncontrollable situation paying for highly-priced goods and services.
What’s worse is that they have no choice and have to pay the costs no matter what or else, they risk a negative impact on their lifestyles. Going solar protects you from unnecessarily inflated electricity rates.
If anything, you can get paid instead of paying to electric companies.
4. Increase property value
Whether you are selling your house or not, installing solar panels on your roof will increase your home value. Research in the US shows a 3.74 percent increase in home value over other non-solar counterparts.
5. Be a good example in society
A high percentage of people want to maintain a sustainable lifestyle but have a hard time starting. You can be an excellent example in society and demonstrate how beneficial it is to have solar panels installed on your roof.
You can start in your local neighbourhood and spread the advantages of using solar energy, and hopefully, others will follow suit.
6. Protect the environment
Using solar energy can protect the environment. Homeowners with
installed solar panels mitigate around four tons of carbon emissions
This is a perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint and will benefit you and the environment in the long run.
There are many reasons why homeowners go solar, but saving the environment and cutting energy costs are the most common. Many people are aware that solar is a great home efficiency upgrade and are eager to reduce their carbon footprints while also improving property value.
Ensembleis the energy management technology from Enphase that enables solar, storage and the grid to seamlessly work together to ensure clean, reliable, economical and safe energy.
The Ensemble solution has five key components:
IQ 8 is the 8th generation of Enphase micros, ensuring
reliability from a decade of continuous improvement. This generation
provide a cost-effective option for traditional solar, while providing
for the potential to upgrade with additional equipment for always on
The Encharge Battery is designed to optimize energy generation to
save money when tied to the grid and maximize availability during
emergency when off-grid capability is enabled.
The Enpower switch seamlessly isolates your home for operation
during a blackout which lets you keep playing when the grid goes down.
The IQ Combiner enables real-time connection of your system to the
cloud with the most efficient, effective and reliable communication
protocols. The IQ Combiner ensures the longevity of your warranty for
the lifetime of your system and allows the installer and Enphase to
troubleshoot if needed to provide the best return on your investment.
The Enlighten Cloud Software delivers real-time monitoring and
insights of solar generation, energy usage, connection to the grid, in
addition to battery usage.
This solution will be released in a phased manner. The initial release of the Ensemble solution will become available in limited quantities in select North American cities around Christmas of 2019.
This first release of the Ensemble solution will include the IQ 8
powered Encharge battery for energy storage and the Enpower switch for
control. This initial Ensemble solution is designed to be compatible
with IQ 6 and IQ 7 systems for either existing or new installs.
Worldwide release in the middle of 2020, will be this same solution, but with the IQ 8 Enphase Microinverter with a second release of the Enpower switch. The goal is to continue providing additional value to our partners and customers with every new Ensemble release.
A+ Solar Solutions installed 20 LG400N2W-V5 High Efficiency LG NeON® 2 modules with Enphase IQ7+ microinverters on Sonya & Ed Ruppel’s house in Salmon Arm.
The 20 LG400N2W-V5 High Efficiency LG NeON® 2 modules have a 19.3% efficiency and will produce 8,857 kWh of electricity a year.
Where most manufacturers provide a 10-year product warranty, LG provides a 25-year product warranty on materials and workmanship as well as a 25-year production warranty on their LG400N2W-V5 High Efficiency LG NeON® 2 modules.
LG also guarantees that the LG400N2W-V5 High Efficiency LG NeON® 2 modules will produce no less than 89.6% of their nameplate power output, which makes the LG400N2W-V5 High Efficiency LG NeON® 2modues one of the best solar panels in today’s market.
Enphase provides an industry-leading warranty of up to 25 years on their Enphase IQ7+ microinverters.
By investing in solar energy, Sonya & Ed Ruppel made a significant step towards a carbon natural environment and creating a sustainable future. Solar energy is free, abundant and does not produce any greenhouse gases.
Investing in solar energy also enabled Sonya & Ed Ruppel to become more self-sufficient and will make them partly untouchable for all the hikes in electricity rates to come.
Special thanks to C.B. Electric, who took care of the electrical part of the installation and did an excelent job.
A new company in Salmon Arm is helping residents reduce their carbon footprint by installing solar panels and providing other solar power related services.
Joost de Bruijn, founder of A+ Solar Solutions, went into business in September 2018. His company provides site surveys, independent advice, designs, sales and project management as well as installation of solar systems to the Shuswap.
De Bruijn is originally from Holland, there he received his masters in building engineering at the University of Technology in Eindhoven in 1989. He visited Canada for the first time in 1994 and knew he had to come back.
“The moment I flew over Canada I fell in love with Canada and it never left, so in 1997 I finally decided to move over to Canada and I lived in Vancouver. Unfortunately, I had to go back to Holland for a few years but I always said, ‘I’m going back to Canada.”
During another visit to Canada in 2015, de Bruijn went on a camping trip with his mother to Trout Lake where he met his wife. Soon after he came back to Canada for good and settled in Salmon Arm. After coming to Salmon Arm he noticed that, not only were his surroundings different, but the prominence of solar power was as well.
“I noticed you don’t see a lot of solar over here and in Europe it is quite common, so I started looking into it,” de Bruijn said. “In Europe energy is very expensive, it’s three times more expensive than in B.C. so that was the real trigger for me and people are becoming more and more aware from climate change.”
De Bruijn also lent his building engineer expertise to the construction of the indoor tennis courts at the Salmon Arm Tennis Club and, through connections, made his company is experiencing a healthy amount of interest.
“Now after a couple months a lot of people are interested or making a lot of proposals and that’s kind of nice,” de Bruijn said.
In April 2017, he attended a climate change forum held in Salmon Arm.
This event introduced de Bruijn to like minded individuals who shared
his passion for solar energy. This led to the creation of the Shuswap Solar Energy Society,
which was founded the same year. On January 24, 2018, the first General
Meeting was held, and de Bruijn was elected to the Board of Directors.
“I am very focused on renewable energy and we do see everywhere in the world that the climate is changing and we have to act right now,” he said. “The climate is not waiting for us so we have to change our behaviour.”
Last Saturday, June 22, 2019, A+ Solar Solutions installed Salmon Arm’s first community-owned solar array on the east-facing roof of the First United Church.
A+ Solar Solutions installed 30 High-Efficiency 400 Wp LG NeON® 2 72-cell modules combined with state of the art Enphase IQ7+ micro-inverters, which will cover 38% of the First United Church’s average annual electricity consumption.
The project is a joined effort between the Shuswap Solar Energy Society and First United and made possible by generous donations and debentures of local supporters of solar energy.
The project will be called the ‘Hugh Tyson Community Solar Array’, honouring the memory of one of the Society’s Directors, who died a year ago.
C.B. Electric will be connecting the array to the grid this week, so First United can start harvesting their free solar energy early next week.
The first community-owned solar array in Salmon Arm will be built on the east-facing roof of First United Church, also known as Nexus at First.
Growing public concern about climate change and support for clean energy solutionshas led to $31,300 being raised in a short time to fund the Shuswap Solar Energy Society’s long-planned community solar array.
The project is being called the ‘Hugh Tyson Community Solar Array’,
honouring the memory of one of the Society’s Directors who died a year
The Solar Array is a partnership between the Shuswap Solar Energy Society and First United Church and will be built on the east-facing roof of First United Church. It is expected to provide the church with about 35% of its electricity needs.
Debenture holders will receive an annual return-f-capital payment from the electricity cost savings offset by the solar array. They expect the debentures to be paid off by 2025 or earlier.
The Solar Array is a true community project in that 32 persons have
given generously through debenture purchases or donations to help fund
it. Having achieved our target, we are ending our fund-raising campaign
Contemporary Canadian politics surrounding renewable energy has been a divisive topic: should the economy or environment receive priority?
When analyzing Canada’s past economic growth, it’s clear that the economy
overshadows the environment time after time. While Canada prides itself on
having a clean environment, the notion of coupling environmental preservation
with economic growth is still in its infancy.
Canada’s economy has been described as having transformed from a natural
resource-based economy to a service economy, and now
to a “knowledge-based economy”. While this is true
of urban centers, primary industries operating within rural Canada are still
significant economic drivers.
With abundant resources in oil, minerals, ore, timber and fresh water, it’s
no surprise that the initial development of Canada’s economy was closely tied
to the exploration of natural resources, particularly oil.
With environmental damage reaching critical levels, Canadians are
increasingly looking for ways to balance growth and the preservation of the
Pro-fossil coal and fossil fuel advocates have long decried the move to cap Alberta oil sand
emissions at 100 megatonnes of emissions annually, as
being anti-business and bad for the economy. While outrage as a result of job
insecurity and economic anxiety is to be expected, the claims that embracing
renewable energy is damaging for the economy are heavily misguided.
Canada’s economic strategy requires significant modification if it is to
fulfill the promise of prioritizing both environmental preservation and
economic growth. The necessary adaptations, such as bolstering investments to
stimulate the renewable energy market, have unfolded at a dismal rate.
Without bold action, Canada cannot fulfill its promise. Canadian’s have
long survived broken political promises, but surviving a broken environment is
likely to be devastating in all meaning of life. While the public is typically
hesitant to support policy changes that are viewed as potential causes of
economic turmoil, renewable energy is a safe bet.
The issue surrounding renewable energy lies with the communication of
policy—and whether the public has faith in those backing it. The plummeting
price of renewable energy, for one, is a good indicator
of its increasing viability.
Current projections expect renewables to be equal to or cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020, significantly earlier than previous projections expected. Not only will this equate to large job growth and a healthier environment, but it will also translate into lower electricity bills for consumers.
Canada’s economy posted a 0.4 percent expansion in the last quarter of 2018, the weakest quarterly
growth since mid-2016. This slow down was also accompanied by a reduction in household
Currently, Canada’s economy looks to be slowing down. The good news is that
renewable energy has the potential to resuscitate significant growth. A quick
comparison between jobs created as a result of fossil fuel investments and renewable energy
investments paint a clear picture.
Renewable energy has more to offer to the Canadian economy.
Per one million dollars invested in fossil fuel infrastructure, an estimated
2.65 full-time jobs are created. This is far
short of the 7.49 full-time jobs created from an
investment of one million dollars in renewable energy. With an employment ratio
of nearly 3-1, renewable energy puts up a strong economic argument for
embracing the transition away from
Simply put: the notion that society must choose between environmental
preservation and economic prosperity is a false dichotomy. Thanks to the
world’s expansive knowledge in the field of sustainability, co-existence
between the two have never been easier to achieve.
Changing the narrative
With renewable energy market proving to be an expansive and tantalizing job
market, calls for a rapid response to climate
change should take advantage. Canada not only serves to
gain a host of social and environmental benefits, such as a healthier aggregate
population and eco-systems but also economic benefits by providing new
investment, employment and manufacturing opportunities.
While there is strong public support for climate action and other environmental initiatives, the economy is still the dominant factor in the minds of voters. By breaking down the false dichotomy that is the environment vs the economy, economic growth can be used to strengthen the argument for renewable energy.
The jobs associated with renewable energy are also long-term jobs that
don’t rely on the volume of a harvesting resource, ensuring greater stability.
Wind and solar energy, for example, require
technicians for both the installation and
maintenance of the renewable infrastructure. This means that those in the field
energy maintenance are provided safe, steady,
One constraining factor of renewable energy is the upfront capital cost. The average
cost in 2017 to install solar systems ranged from a
little over $2,000 per kilowatt (kilowatts are a measure of power capacity) for
large-scale systems to almost $3,700 for residential systems. A new natural gas
plant might have cost around $1,000/kW. Wind comes in around $1,200 to
This has slowed progress, as financial institutions view high upfront costs
as “risky,” and subsequently lend money at higher interest rates, making it
“more difficult to justify investments”. High upfront costs have also
contributed to the rejection of renewable energy projects on the basis of
Canadian communities are already feeling the
economic effects of climate change. As the permafrost that supports the
foundations of buildings, roads and other infrastructure projects melts, they
become destabilized. The destruction of
infrastructure, smaller agricultural yields, damaged fisheries and increased
severity of natural disasters makes climate change an economic crisis waiting
The effects and subsequent costs of climate change aren’t only a concern
for the future.
Throughout 2018, Montreal experienced 70 heat-related deaths, British Columbia
battled massive wildfires that degraded the air quality to the worst
in the world, and two brief thunderstorms
caused widespread flooding in downtown Toronto. The Disaster Financial
Assistance Arrangement program (DFAA), which offers financial assistance to
provinces and territories after natural disasters, averaged an annual payout of
12 million between 1970-1994, 163 million between 1995-2004 and finally an
average of 373 million between 2005-2015.
The dramatic growth in costs of environmental, social and economic damage
as a result of climate change presents a strong narrative for Canada to
aggressively pursue the low carbon economy. While environmental issues are
prone to apathy on behalf of the population, primarily focussing communication
efforts on the economic costs associated with climate inaction may help win
over individuals still on the fence about embracing renewable energy.
Tesla looks to regain its luster in Solar Energy by slashing prices (The New York Times)
In a bid to regain its status, which it lost last year as the #1 rooftop solar company in the U.S., Tesla is cutting prices of its solar panels by as much as 38 percent below the national average.
The company has started selling solar panels and related equipment less than the national average price by standardizing systems and requiring customers to order them online.
The Verge notes that the
company’s popular online configuration tool now lists a 4kW array of panels as
costing US$7,980 after a federal tax credit, which works out to just over
US$1.99 per watt including installation.
on where customers live, the price per watt could drop as low as US$1.75, which
is 38 percent less than the national average of US$2.85, and much less than
Tesla charged previously.
Tesla executives said these changes should put to rest concerns that the company, better known for its luxury electric cars, has neglected its residential solar business, reports The New York Times.
Tesla entered the solar market after acquiring SolarCity for US$2.6 billion plus the assumption of another US$3 billion in SolarCity debt back in 2016.
This was a surprise move that sent tremors throughout Wallstreet as investors and industry observers said the company was stretching itself too thin, and may not survive the coming years.
of wind and solar energy keep falling; installing a new wind turbine costs about
a third of what it did in 2008. Solar prices fell by 88 percent during that time.
In fact, renewable energy is so inexpensive, utilities have found
that they can save
customers money by closing
coal plants early
and replacing them with wind and solar power.
this backdrop that we must consider the much-hypednew
paper from the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute analyzing the
impact of state renewable energy standards. The economists looked at these state
efforts to boost solar and wind deployment (dating back to 1990) and conclude that
these so-called RPS programs are costly and ineffective at addressing climate change.
are many reasons to be skeptical of these conclusions.
And this isn’t
the first paper to look at the impact of renewable energy standards, but it is one
of the few to find such high costs. The Energy Department’s national labs have done
their own large-scale studies each year and found that these polices drive significant
renewable energy development at low costs for customers—about 2 percent of an U.S.
household’s average monthly bill (or a little more than $2 a month). And the benefits
are enormous: They could top $1 trillion—yes, trillion with a T—by 2030.
So, what did
the Chicago researchers get wrong?
paper, which hasn’t been peer reviewed, looks at the cost impacts in the first seven
years after an RPS is put in place, and only includes data through 2015. That means
it has missed out on the recent declines in renewable energy prices. Since
2015, costs for solar energy have fallen by 33 percent, onshore wind by 22 percent,
offshore wind by 40 percent, and battery storage by 49 percent.
building new solar and wind is often cheaper than running existing coal-fired plants.
It is precisely
because of these falling costs that many states have
decided to strengthen their standards in the last three years (and why hundreds of businesses and severalutilities have voluntarilyannounced
they will go 100 percent clean in the coming years). Being green is now the economic
option. And one reason it has become economic is that many states had the foresight
to adopt these renewable energy mandates years ago. Helping along a nascent technology
continues to pay dividends today.
Casting False Blame
ignores other factors and inappropriately blames renewables for other cost increases.
The authors of this working paper allude to a number of “costs” renewable energy
plants come with, beyond the standard compliance cost.
they argue that renewable energy imposes serious costs on the electricity system—taxing
our system and requiring a lot more power plants to be at the ready to ensure reliable
power because the sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing. But,
time after time this just isn’t true. The American Wind Energy Association even
that ERCOT (the grid operator in Texas) has found that the cost of reserves needed
to back up conventional power plants is far larger than the cost to back up wind
generation. Solar and wind even
provide grid reliability services, like “reactive power”, which is necessary
to deliver high quality power.
plant is available 100 percent of the time—coal and gas plants have to take
planned outages for maintenance work, nuclear plants need to refuel, and in extreme
of these plants can face problems
that prevent them from running (like frozen
coal piles, natural gas pipeline delivery issues, or frazil
also point to transmission spending, linking it to renewable energy projects. Transmission
and distribution spending (or T&D) has increased over the last decade—but it’s
not driven by renewable energy needs. As the U.S. Energy Information Administration
notes, upgrades are conducted to allow “utilities to repair faults on transmission
lines remotely, to read meters remotely, and to more quickly find, repair, and communicate
with customers about neighborhood reliability problems and outages.”
Our grid is
aging and in need of repair and modernization. Integrating renewable energy is one
reason to do these upgrades—but it’s not the only, or the main, reason.
What Other Research Found
The U.S. national
labs have been releasing annual reports on the
status of renewable energy standards and recently published
a paper analyzing and compiling a wide range of studies on the retail rate impacts
from renewable energy and these standards. The annual status reports look at the
actual impact of RPS policies every year—and found them to be an economic way to
spread renewable energy.
policies have driven 45 percent of all renewable energy projects built in the U.S.
since 2000. By 2030, these standards will require even more renewable energy in
the ground: another 180 TWh, at least, or almost a 50 percent increase in U.S. renewable
generation from current levels. The average RPS compliance cost in 2017 was two
percent of a customer’s bill, or $2.30 a month for the average U.S. household. (This
is also in line with most other studies and with RPS costs in earlier years.)
It’s Not Just the Carbon
conclude with an argument that these standards are a costly way of cutting carbon.
But these policies aren’t just about cutting carbon. An RPS shouldn’t and can’t
be the only policy to decarbonize our economy (NRDC’s
analysis on how the U.S. could meet its’ climate goals relied on many different
have brought a lot of different benefits: less soot and smog, reduced water consumption,
lower wholesale electricity prices, new clean energy jobs, and stronger local green
economies. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that these public health,
climate, and water savings totaled more than $5.2 billion
by the end of 2013. By 2030,
these benefits could climb to $1.16 trillion. At the same time, these policies have
also created over 200,000 new clean energy jobs and could boost total renewable
energy employment by almost 50 percent over the next decade.
While this working paper has made a splash, it’s light on facts. Luckily, Americans are demanding more clean energy and state leaders are responding: since the start of 2019, policymakers in Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, and Maryland have all passed new RPS policies—with many more actively considering their own bills at the moment.