1. IS SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC A RELIABLE TECHNOLOGY?
Yes, last year more than 5 GW of PV panels were installed around the world for a total of more than USD 25 billion. The biggest names in the financial sector are investing in solar system and it is widely considered as a safe investment.
2. IS IT THE PURCHASE OF A SOLAR SYSTEM A GOOD INVESTMENT?
The purchase of a solar photovoltaic system for residential or commercial applications is an expensive purchase. But, thanks to the Green Energy Act, the energy produced by your solar PV system is bought at an advantageous fixed price that makes the installation of your PV system a safe and attractive investment.
3. IS MY ROOF A SUITABLE ROOF FOR SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC?
Maybe, if your roof is oriented south, has nice slope and the solar exposure not obstructed by trees, you have the best case scenario. If not, there are other PV technologies that can cope with flat roofs, partial shading and sub-optimal orientation. Each case is different and requires a specialist to analyze it and design a custom made system. Solexium offers pre-feasibility studies that analyze the potential of your roof.
4. HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT MY SYSTEM TO WORK?
25 years, this is the figure widely accepted in the industry. Depending on the maintenance and quality of the components, you can expect to operate even more. PV manufacturers usually guarantee the output to be at least 80% of the original after 25 years.
5. IS THE MAINTENANCE EXPENSIVE?
No, the PV system is practically maintenance free. Obviously, regular visual inspections and minor cleaning of the system will avoid the majority of the problems. Your system can even be remotely monitored on the Internet. Some of the power electronics (inverters) may need replacement of the critical components after about 10 years, but it does not constitute a major cost.
6. IS THERE A NEED FOR BATTERIES?
No, since you will still be connected to the grid, there is no need for a set of batteries. All the electricity produced is metered and sold to Ontario Power Authority (OPA). At all times, the local electricity distributor will supply you with the electricity to match your needs. However, if you want to be totally independent of the grid in case of black-out, extra components can be added to increase your autonomy and make your solar installation a back-up system.
7. DO I NEED TO ALLOCATE A LOT OF ROOM IN MY HOUSE FOR THE SYSTEM?
No, there are minimal space requirements for the PV system. The PV modules will be installed on the roof and will not occupy significant room. The DC/AC inverter will preferably, but not necessarily, be housed indoor. They can easily fit next to your electrical panel and/or hydrometer.
8. CAN I USE MY SYSTEM AS A BACKUP SYSTEM?
Yes and no. Most of the components of a solar PV backup system will already be installed. However, you will need to include a set of batteries in order to store the energy produced by day to use it by night. You can expect a 10 kW system to produce two to four times the amount of energy your house will use, on average over a year.
9. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WINTER? DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE SNOW?
First of all, the system and the panels are design to reduce to a minimum the accumulation of snow. The panels have soft edges that allow the snow to slip on the tilted panels with the natural help of wind and gravity. Second, during the conversion of sun light into electricity, a lot of heat is generated. Even in the winter, the panel’s surface will reach temperatures above the melting point of snow. Therefore, if snow is not blown away or does not slip off the panel, it will most probably melt. Finally, winter months are not the months that generate the most electricity. If panels are hidden for a few hours during these months, the impact will be little on the annual power output.