The Scoop on Solar

Homeowners wanting to go a step further to reduce their energy consumption may want to look into generating their own electricity. Solar technology has improved over the years and the panels have become more affordable, making it a viable option for more households. If you’re thinking about installing a system this spring or summer, the time to plan is now.

What is it?

Solar panels generate DC electricity during the day and send it to an inverter, which converts it to the AC-type of electricity used in households. With proper care and routine maintenance, the panels often last for several decades.

How much does a solar panel system cost?

Solar panels can cost between $30,000 and $40,000, depending on your solar set-up, less the rebates and tax credits available.1 They will generally pay themselves off in the form of reduced utility bills after 7-12 years.

Will it add value to the home?

Although it remains to be seen if solar panels add value to Canadian homes, research from our neighbours to the south show they may. A study in the U.S. shows that not only do homes with solar panels sell for more, they also sell an average of 20% faster than homes without.2

What are the benefits?

  • Save money. Once you get past the installation and maintenance costs, the energy you generate is free.
  • Save energy. Solar allows you to tap into the unlimited power of the sun, making you less reliant on energy drawn from fossil fuels.
  • Increase your home’s “wow” factor. Whether the value of your home increases or not, many buyers are looking to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing energy consumption.

What’s the downside?

  • It’s not constant. Your system won’t generate energy at night, so energy generated during the day must either be stored or sourced from elsewhere. Additionally, the system will generate less energy during the winter months, when days are shorter, making it necessary to have a backup source of energy.
  • It may not be efficient. Currently, solar panels can convert only 22% of the sun’s energy into electricity, which means you’ll need to install quite a few panels to power your home. However, efficiency has improved drastically over the past few years and will continue to improve in the future.
Sources: 1. Canadian Home Workshop
2. Cost of Solar
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