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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about solar power? Dig in below, as our experts answer some of the most common questions that prospective buyers have.

Solar Basics

With no moving parts and high quality manufacturing standards, solar PV systems are in a class of their own when it comes to durability.  Solar modules sold by EVOLVsolar come with a 25-year performance warranty, and generally last much longer than that.  The inverters, which convert energy from the Direct Current (DC) produced by the modules to the Alternating Current used on you property, generally have to be replaced after 20 years.

The first step towards installing solar is doing some research and getting a custom quote that takes into account your actual property location and features.  At EVOLVsolar, we typically need the following information: 

1. Your annual usage in kWh or your monthly billing amount

2. The location that you’d like to install the solar PV array

3. If you’re interested in a roof mount, it also helps that we know the type of roofing (asphalt shingles, metal, etc), the year it was installed and the pitch (e.g. 4/12)

The more information we have, the more accurate our quote will be. 

And most importantly, make sure to get solid answers on all your questions - solar PV is a long-term decision that will generally pay you back 3-4 times what you invested over a 25+ year period, but does require an up front investment.  It’s important that you feel that you have been listened to and the company you work with will install a quality product designed to stand the test of time. 

Check out our How Solar Works page for more information.

Trick question – there are no batteries for standard grid-tied solar PV installations.  During the day, any excess electricity is sold back to the grid for credits.  At night and in the winter months, you can use those credits to purchase electricity back from the grid.  Batteries can of course be added to a system for those looking to have power backup in the case of emergencies. 

There are actually 3 different warranties that provide reassurance you’ll be producing power for years to come:

1) Product Warranty - At EVOLVsolar, we only offer panels with a minimum 10-year Product Warranty on materials and workmanship.

2) Performance Warranty - We only choose solar panels that guarantee they’ll produce a minimum 90% of the rated power after 10 years and 82% after 25 years.

3) Service Warranty  If there are any labor-related defects from the installation process, EVOLVsolar will repair them free of charge for 3 years after the date of installation.

Making an investment in solar is a personal decision, so only you can answer that.  Some questions that you may want to ask yourself include: 

  1. Am I concerned about rising power prices?
  2. Would I prefer to continue paying my power bills for the next 30 years, or own my own power production?
  3. Do I want to invest in my property and raise its market value?
  4. Am I concerned about carbon taxes?  Do I want to lower my carbon footprint?  

If the answer to a few of those questions is yes, then solar might be right for you.  Of course, we here at EVOLVsolar will work hard to get you all the information you need to make the right decision.

System Production

After the first year, the solar modules lose about 0.5% of their efficiency every year because of contraction and expansion from changes in temperature, which we build into our projections. Given that the cost of electricity is projected to rise by 3% or more annually, you’ll still continue to save more money each year as the inflation will be higher than the production losses.  To further protect your investment, we choose panel manufacturers who warranty that the modules will produce at least 83% of their rated power after 25 years.  

Other factors at play include the rate you get paid for your power, whether there are financial incentives to go solar, and personal factors such as the environmental impact on your community.  Get in touch with the experts at EVOLVsolar to learn more about the economics for your specific system by getting a free assessment and consultation. 

As you would expect, shading a solar PV array for parts of the day will lower it’s expected production.  During our quoting process, we take this into account by building a 3D model of your property in our custom software that allows us to model these losses and test different technologies out that might mitigate this impact.  For instance, in cases with significant shading we recommend micro-inverters, which provide module-by-module optimization of production which can significantly cut down these losses.

1. Your annual usage in kWh or your monthly billing amount

2. The location that you’d like to install the solar PV array

3. If you’re interested in a roof mount, it also helps that we know the type of roofing (asphalt shingles, metal, etc), the year it was installed and the pitch (e.g. 4/12)

The more information we have, the more accurate our quote will be. 

And most importantly, make sure to get solid answers on all your questions - solar PV is a long-term decision that will generally pay you back 3-4 times what you invested over a 25+ year period, but does require an up front investment.  It’s important that you feel that you have been listened to and the company you work with will install a quality product designed to stand the test of time. 

When you install solar at your property, your utility will install what’s known as a bi-directional meter.  This meter measures energy going both ways – first, the energy coming from the grid to power your home, and second, the excess energy being produced by solar going onto the grid which will show up on your bill as credits. 

While the “perfect” angle for solar is between 25 and 45 degrees facing South, as you can see in the chart below, you will still get great production at other angles, meaning solar still makes sense for many applications. 

Economics

While we may not get as much sun as the southern US, solar actually performs better in colder temperatures, meaning that Canadians will produce a lot of energy in the cooler spring and fall months.  In fact, most provinces would boast more sunshine than Germany, who is a world leader in solar PV. 

Other factors at play include the rate you get paid for your power, whether there are financial incentives to go solar, and personal factors such as the environmental impact on your community.  Get in touch with the experts at EVOLVsolar to learn more about the economics for your specific system by getting a free assessment and consultation. 

Over the life of the system (30+ years), the cost of solar energy relative to the price paid for the system averages about $0.05 to $0.06 per kWh.  The cost of power for most consumers across Western Canada is generally about double that, and will only grow over time with inflation.  Effectively, installing solar creates a powerful hedge against increasing energy prices in the future.

1. Your annual usage in kWh or your monthly billing amount

2. The location that you’d like to install the solar PV array

3. If you’re interested in a roof mount, it also helps that we know the type of roofing (asphalt shingles, metal, etc), the year it was installed and the pitch (e.g. 4/12)

The more information we have, the more accurate our quote will be. 

And most importantly, make sure to get solid answers on all your questions - solar PV is a long-term decision that will generally pay you back 3-4 times what you invested over a 25+ year period, but does require an up front investment.  It’s important that you feel that you have been listened to and the company you work with will install a quality product designed to stand the test of time. 

Absolutely. Installing solar panels can increase your property value dollar for dollar and provide a perspective buyer assurance for stable electricity costs down the road.

Depending on your location, the rates you’re paying and the current incentives available, typical paybacks are in the range of 8-12 years on most solar PV installations for an asset that lasts 30+ years.  Effectively, you’re prepaying 30 years of power for the cost of 10 – allowing you to own your own power rather than renting it.

Please refer to our Incentives page for details on programs available in your area.

Installation

That all depends on the province and the size of installation, but as a general guideline it can take 2-6 months between the signing of the sales agreement and turning your system on to generate power to save money on your bills.  Actual time on site by our installation team can vary, as quick as a few days for smaller residential jobs to several weeks for larger farm/commercial systems.  

The ground mount system is a galvanized steel structure that is engineered to handle maximum wind loads in your area, generally up to 120 mph, and snow loads of up to 90+ psf.  Basically, it’s designed to handle the worst of what Western Canadian weather can dish out.  

1. Your annual usage in kWh or your monthly billing amount

2. The location that you’d like to install the solar PV array

3. If you’re interested in a roof mount, it also helps that we know the type of roofing (asphalt shingles, metal, etc), the year it was installed and the pitch (e.g. 4/12)

The more information we have, the more accurate our quote will be. 

And most importantly, make sure to get solid answers on all your questions - solar PV is a long-term decision that will generally pay you back 3-4 times what you invested over a 25+ year period, but does require an up front investment.  It’s important that you feel that you have been listened to and the company you work with will install a quality product designed to stand the test of time. 

Here are a few simple tips to optimize your roof for a future solar installation:  

1) If there is any flexibility in the roof design, choosing one that offers more space for placing panels on South / SW / SE facing portions of the roof will ensure you get good production from your system. 

2) Running conduit from the attic to your electrical panel. 

3) Consideration of where the roof obstructions are placed is also important (e.g. vents, etc); putting them on the North side or the edges of the roof will leave more room for solar and the installation will look much cleaner.

4) Leave approximately 3’ x 3’ of space near the electrical panel for installation of an inverter. 

We generally recommend not to install solar on a roof that has less than 15 years of useful life, as there are additional costs when replacing a roof with a solar PV installation – usually costing $2,000 or more.  To save on costs, it may be possible to replace just the portion of the roof where the solar PV system will be installed. 

The biggest impediment to solar can be the size of your service, measured in Amps and kVA.  For larger systems, the experts at EVOLVsolar will work with you through the quoting process to ensure that there are no surprises during installation.

Maintenance

This is included with all installations in our base cost, as long as you have internet or wifi within reach of your solar PV system.  For systems that are not within range, we offer other solutions, including a wifi range extender that can push connectivity out to your solar array.



Maintenance is almost nil with no moving parts.  We do model for losses from snow, but some customers choose to remove excess snow buildup to maximize production.  Also, every few years it’s ideal to clean the panels if there’s dust buildup in your area that’s not being washed away by precipitation.

 

Most of your production comes in the spring, summer and fall months when there is more daylight.  That said, we do account for snow losses in the estimates provided to customers assuming they don’t do any maintenance – These are 3% to 5% per year according to a 5-year study conducted by a NAIT college in Edmonton.

If you do want to maximize production, for hard-to-reach modules you can use a telescoping brush or squeegee to knock the snow off.  Even if you can’t reach all the modules, since the solar PV cells absorb light, they actually run 20-25 degrees hotter than the outside temperature… so as long as those PV cells are exposed to sunlight, the rest of the snow will melt off over a period of sunny days.

Solar panels themselves are manufactured with tempered glass that is normally rated for 1” hail hitting it directly at 55 miles per hour or more.   Given they’re normally installed at a 20 degree angle or greater and that storms often come from the West or North, this means that hail will impact it at an angle, allowing it to withstand even greater force. 

 

For additional protection, you can get your solar PV system added under the insurance policy for your home, farm or business.  Depending on the assessed value of your property, often times there can be no additional charge or a very small increase given it’s such a durable product. 



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