Economy,  Energy

Week 49: Invest in Solar Panels

If you live in Ontario, there have a been a lot of changes in the solar industry in the last little while. The microFIT program which paid participants for the energy they were generating is now closed but there are still a number of amazing options for installing solar on the roof of your home or business. 

Net Metering: Net metering (also known as net energy metering) is a solar system that lets you store your energy on the grid. When the sun is out and your solar panels are producing excess power that energy is sent to the grid. At night when your panels are no longer producing energy, can pull back from the grid. If your solar installation is the the right size, you should be able to produce enough energy and electricity to match your usage for the whole year. But of course, that electricity will vary throughout the year depending on the sun. What Net Metering does is accounts for the difference and credits you when you’re over producing. Essentially it allows you to store the excess and use it later.

Powerwalls: The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion home battery that uses solar power to charge, but unlike most solar power sources, the Powerwall can store solar energy for use during the nighttime. The Powerwall is also a backup electricity power supply for your home. 

Because homes typically consume more energy in the morning and evening rather than midday, when solar energy output is the highest, power companies often buy and sell excess energy multiple times a day. This practice increases carbon emissions. Powerwall makes solar energy more practical by allowing you to store it for future use whenever you need it.

Solar Water Heating: If you’ve ever felt water coming out of a garden hose that’s been sitting in the sunshine on a hot summer day, you know that the sun is capable of heating up water. However, you may not realize just how powerful solar heating can be. A typical two panel residential solar water heating system can be very cost effective and pay for itself faster than you may think. Solar thermal is particularly valuable if you currently heat your water with electricity or propane. Solar hot water systems last for decades with little or no maintenance. 

If you’re thinking about solar, check out your local solar company and they will likely have more information for you based on your home or business and what’s possible in your area. 

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