Deep Dive Discussion on November 24, 2022 was an informative presentation on solar panel installation and efficiency in BC, specifically in the Okanagan region.
Bryce Hayes from SkyFire Energy gave an indepth overview. You can watch the whole webinar on FTFO's YouTube channel in the Deep Dive Playlist.
Here are answers to the questions we couldn't get to in the meeting.
Solar Panel Answers from SkyFire Energy
What happens when it's time to reshingle a roof? When it is time to re-shingle the roof, the homeowner should get in touch with their solar PV provider to remove the system from the roof and re-install it after the new roof is complete. Typically, that service would cost between $4,000-$5,000 but it is always dependent on the size and complexity of the array getting removed and reinstalled.
How are the panels actually attached to the roof and what is done to prevent leaks? There are a variety of different roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, metal corrugated, metal standing seams, clay tile, cedar shake, metal tile, rubber shingle, and a variety of flat roof materials. All of these different types of roofing materials have a dedicated solution for attaching solar PV equipment to the roof. I recommend using an experienced contractor who has experience and solutions for your style of roofing.
Is the Greener Homes $40,000 grant for solar installs? The Greener Homes Grant is a grant of up to $5,000 for a solar PV system. The interest- free up to $40,000 loan program through Greener Homes also applies to solar PV systems.
Why might it be necessary to upgrade the electrical panel to have solar panels installed? All electrical panels can have a certain amount of solar PV installed into them based on the Canadian Electrical Code. It is typically when a homeowner has a goal of system size or annual electricity offset that an electrical panel needs to be upgraded to a certain size or capacity to achieve those goals it is required. I recommend speaking with a solar PV company before getting an electrical panel upgraded to ensure that the upgrade selected meets the requirement of the PV system to avoid upgrading twice.
Do you have any real world Okanagan examples of solar capture when we had smoky summers (new normal) and cloudy winters (normal and will remain so)? Yes, we have hundreds of sites within the Okanagan with years of data on production throughout smoky summers and cloudy winters. All with real-time data getting collected at a variety of intervals depending on the monitoring software. We generate a very small amount of power in the winter, so our clouds have a negligible effect on annual production numbers due to the winter having such a low performance regardless of clouds.
What about putting panels on the ground or wall if roof is in the shade? You can install a solar PV system on the ground or onto a wall but it will be a far more expensive solution than on the roof. I would recommend that the shading losses on the roof are determined first to be able to quantify how much more solar is needed to make up the production differences. That will allow you to compare and contrast solutions and determine the most effective solution for the home based on production and cost.