Tag Archives: solar panel installers sharbot lake

Solar Systems: What could possibly go wrong?

17 Jul

So, you’re considering investing a rather large chunk of money to have a solar system installed at your home with the benefit of receiving a preferred rate for the electricity you generate that will be guaranteed to you for 20 years through Ontario’s MicroFIT program.

Now you’re wondering what could possibly go wrong in the coming years.  After all, it’s good to know about any problems that may arise now so that you’re going into this with your eyes wide open. By planning now for potential problems down the road, you can most likely prevent nasty service issues in future years.

The good news is that for most solar systems, there is very little that can go wrong. Solar panels have no moving parts which makes maintenance virtually non-existent.  As for cleaning the panels, here in Ontario, we typically get a good rainfall once a week which naturally cleans the panels of any dust or debris. Solar panels typically come with a 25 year warranty so you’re covered in that respect.  As for the inverter(s), they often come with a 10-25 year  warranty (term will depend on the inverter you choose, so choose wisely).

Squirrel damage to solar panel wiring

Squirrel damage to solar panel wiring

If there was one thing that could potentially go wrong with your system, I would hazard to guess that it would be our furry little friends, squirrels.  If your roof is near an area accessible to squirrels, they could decide to call your solar array home and set up a nice nest underneath your solar panels to protect them from local predators and the elements.  However, a bigger concern than the nesting is what they do when in their new digs.  You see, squirrels like many rodents like to chew and the wiring under your panels make a great snack for their little chompers.  The damage that these little critters cause to wiring can result in thousands of dollars worth of repairs as your solar installer will not only be required to remove the panels, but also replace all of the wiring affected by squirrel damage.  In the meantime, you’ll be losing production which also costs you money.  Now for the really bad news, most insurance companies do not cover rodent damage which means that you’ll be on the hook for this bill. The solar industry  has been experimenting with various  solutions to this problem (coating the wires with a nasty taste that squirrel’s will naturally want to keep away from and protective wiring) but to date they have not provided us with a cost effective solution.  So is all hope lost? – Nope.

Squirrel Guard installed around solar panels

Squirrel Guard installed around solar panels by Eco Alternative Energy

The good news is that some solar companies are now providing customers with a product called Squirrel Guard which in essence is a galvanized steel screen that is installed around your panels and acts as a deterrent so that squirrels (or birds for that matter) are unable to get under your solar system to wreak havoc.  The Squirrel Guard screen is made by welding and hot-dip galvanizing, followed by PVC coating (this ain’t no chicken wire).  This high quality screen stands up to the extremes of rooftops.  It combines just the right mix of strength and weight with workability and transparency for a quick, long-lasting, secure and inconspicuous installation.  Squirrel Guard is the most effective solution so far for squirrel damage to solar panels.

Be sure to ask your solar installer if they provide Squirrel Guard before you sign up especially if you know you could potentially have a squirrel issue either now or down the road.

We make it a point to inform our customers about Squirrel Guard before signing up.  If you would like to speak to a solar specialist for a high performance squirrel protected solar system, please Contact Us or call us at 416-907-5848.

Advertisements

Solar System Installation: Is it better to do the install yourself? Professional vs DIY

4 Jul

Whether you choose a professional to install your solar system or decide to do it yourself, kudos to you for choosing to go solar and thank you for helping us make Ontario greener!

Professional Solar Panel Installation by Eco Alternative Energy, Toronto

Why choosing a professional solar installer is better: Grid Tied Solar Systems Ontario

A lot of hobbyists jump at the idea of a DIY project but hold on, before you put your tool belt on and start climbing up the ladder onto your roof you need to ask yourself; “which option is better for such a significant project”?

If you’re planning to install a Grid Tied Solar System, we recommend you take a look here at what a Professional Solar Installation company offers you vs a DIY project:

  1. Professional Expertise: The first advantage of using a professional company to install solar panels on the roof of your home is that they employ professional electricians, installers and solar specialists to do the job right. This means that everyone involved in your solar installation is an expert in their field as opposed to a hobbyist trying to figure things out for the first time. If you’re planning on doing a small home project that does not tie into the grid, then the Do It Yourselfer (providing he or she is handy in this regard) may be a better option.
  2. Making the best recommendations: A professional Solar company will be able to make the best choices for your solar system. They will know exactly which system design will be the most lucrative, which inverters to use, which racking to go with and all this faster than you can type “Photovoltaic” on your browser. It is unlikely that hobbyists will know the best configurations of a system and still be able to maximize production, since they probably don’t account for factors such as shading, preferred azimuth, pitch, etc.
  3. Time Savings and Faster Earnings: When you start a DIY project for the first time on your own, you will evidently go through the many panel brochures, inverter info and engineering specs and eventually find a simple flowchart of steps required to install Solar that you may use as a template for your installation. It is unlikely that you’ll finish your project without running into a few roadblocks which could potentially take a while to figure out. When using a professional solar installation company, you’ll be dealing with professionals who have been through the process several times and understand their way around any roadblocks they encounter. As a result, they should be much faster (a 10 kW system should be installed by professionals in about 5 days) and your system will start producing sooner which in turn equates to you earning money faster.
  4. Trying to save money: Keep this in mind, the cost of your average solar system is primarily made up in the panels, inverter(s), rails and electrical. Labour is a very small percentage of the overall price tag.
  5. Paper work made easy: Are you fond of provincial red tape? Like the rest of us, probably not – especially when you don’t do it on a regular basis. Filing for your OPA (Ontario Power Authority) application to get approved is the first step to installing a solar system and a service that many solar companies are happy to provide. Then comes the LDC paperwork, single line diagrams and in many cases engineering and a building permit. Having your solar installer take care of this for you will save you the headache and time of shuffling through what some describe as an endless sea of paperwork. Similarly, solar companies take care of the majority of other paperwork required in the process so you don’t have to worry. If you are taking up this project as Do It Yourselfer the paperwork will slow you down, not to mention the unnecessary stress associated with it.
  6. After service care: It’s a great relief to know that someone will be around to look into any trouble that your system runs into long after your installation is complete as opposed to getting up on the roof every time something goes wrong and making sure you are around to fix it. Most solar companies will be available to provide you with some form of after service care on your system. Many solar installers offer a 24-36 month warranty on their installation.

So at first glance, it might look cheaper to install a Grid Tied Solar System on your own or have a friend do it but in the long run it could turn out to be more of a headache than it’s worth. To make solar a truly rewarding and wonderful experience we suggest you choose a professional solar installer for your home. And if you’re considering looking into choosing a solar company in your area, please read our post on How to choose the right solar installer: a checklist for some great tips! Like always, our solar experts will be happy to answer any questions you have, so be sure to drop us a message here or call us on 1-888-907-5848 .

If you are in Ontario, Canada and would like a free online evaluation of your property for solar, feel free to fill out the short form below and one of our experts will get in touch with you in 1 business day.