Home Series: Using Solar Power For Your Vancouver Home- Consult with Bruce Coleman, Vancouver Mortgage Broker
Using Solar Power For Your Vancouver Home
Going green and doing everything you can to help save energy and preserve the environment is a hot topic issues these days. The cost of heating a home in the winter months is enough to make any every Canadian grimace.
The good news is that there are alternatives and one popular approach is to go solar. More and more you are seeing solar panels being installed on the roofs of homes, apartments and businesses throughout the City of Vancouver.
But, is solar power the right investment for you? The answer to this question depends on a number of variables because using solar power may not be suitable for everyone.
How Do Solar Power Systems Operate?
Systems are either stand alone systems which separate you from the power grid or are grid connected. The proper name for solar heating is called Solar Photovoltaic’s of PV for short. Solar panels are either a series or parallel connected modules and the number depends on the power requirements.
The size of the system, the battery bank and the AC inverter depends on how much power you require and how you intend to use the solar system, the amount of sunlight available and the number of days you require without back up.
The panels are generally oriented to face in a southerly direction. You might be interested to know that solar systems actually work more efficiently in colder weather and are very suitable for northern climates. Systems can provide anything for smaller needs such as watts (W), kilowatts (KW) per or larger power needs such as megawatts (MW).
The Canadian Electrical Code has made it very convenient for you to provide power to yourself or to feed any excess power back to the utility company.
Solar System Uses
A solar system can be used with two approaches in mind including:
- Solar Water Heating
- Solar Air Heating
Solar Water Heating
Heating your water with solar power can be used in several different ways such as for all your drinking and washing needs, radiant floor heating or simply to heat your swimming pool.
Solar Air Heating
The purpose of solar panels used in this application is to simply heat the air that is coming into your home.
For most people, solar water heating may be a more economic and practical approach because these systems are fairly expensive and can take up to seven or more years before you can recover your investment.
Buying A Solar Power System
If you’re thinking of going this route then you need to really do some research first. You might want to first start with the Canadian Solar Industries Association. They also have a convenient to use checklist to help you get started. A good installer will research your household energy consumption in detail.
Just remember that not every house is going to be a good candidate for solar power. You also want to look for any available government rebates and to find out how you might be able to offset the costs as most provincial hydro companies will buy excess power your system generates from you.
In B.C. this operates on a net metering system where you can be reimbursed by B.C. hydro which will credit your account once per year. You will have to check with B.C. hydro to apply and to ensure that your system qualifies. Currently, B.C. hydro is paying $9.99 per kWh.