Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 6

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technology that uses energy from the
sun. Solar thermal is another form of solar
energy technology that captures the light of
the sun for space and water heating. Solar
thermal technologies used in an everyday
setting typically appear in the form of a flat,
roof-mounted plate that has liquid circulating
throughout it. Heat from the sun is captured
in a fluid and used to help heat (or preheat) the water you use for washing dishes,
running a bath or rinsing off the dog after a
muddy run.

from the sun saves you money on your
electricity bills and, when paired with
storage, can help ensure your home is
prepared in the event of a power blackout
or natural disaster. There has never been
a better time to harness the power of
the sun!
Created for the consumer, this guide
is designed to help you learn the basics
of generating your own electricity from
the sun through solar photovoltaics (PV),
show you what you can expect throughout
the installation process from start to
finish, and help you discover whether solar
is right for you. A solar PV system is a big
investment in your future, and as with any
big decision, it is important to consider
your options and learn what's involved
before making a commitment.
HOW DOES SOLAR WORK?
All solar systems capture light from the
sun and convert it to energy forms we
can use in our homes, either as electricity
or heat. There are two methods of solar
energy generation most commonly seen
on homes, farms and commercial buildings:
solar photovoltaics and solar thermal.
While both use the sun's energy to create
usable energy, solar photovoltaic systems
use the energy to generate electricity,
whereas solar thermal systems use the
energy to heat air or water.
Energy storage systems are also
becoming increasingly more common
to pair with solar photovoltaic systems.
These batteries help store excess energy
generated by the solar PV system for
later use.
6 | www.cansia.ca

Solar Photovoltaics
Solar photovoltaics (PV) is the most used
solar technology. Flat panels are attached to
rooftops or mounted on the ground. During
the day, PV panels produce direct current
(DC) power, which is then fed through an
inverter to create an alternating current
(AC) power, the type of current that is most
often used in our homes. This AC power
output can either be directly connected to
your home's electrical system or the power
can be sent to the electricity grid via the
wires attached to your home (or both).
The vast majority of solar PV systems
being installed currently are grid-tied,
meaning electricity flows to the home's
electrical panel where it is used up by the
home's electrical equipment, with any
surplus electricity being exported back to
the electrical grid. A typical grid-tied solar
PV system is made up of the solar panels
themselves, racking equipment to affix it
to a roof or a ground mount, one or more
inverters to convert the electricity into
its more usable AC form, and any other
piece of electrical equipment necessary
to connect an approved system to the
home and/or the grid. These "balance of
system" components are, in most cases,
required by the Canadian Electrical Code,
and include things like appropriately
sized wiring, disconnection devices,
junction boxes and breakers, along with
a bi-directional utility meter and optional
system monitoring equipment.
Solar Thermal
While this guide is largely focused on
solar PV, it is important to mention another

Solar plus storage
As a safety measure, most conventional
grid-tied solar PV systems need power in
order to operate and will not power the
home during a power outage. For those
aiming to go off-grid, or to ensure there
is still some power during a blackout,
incorporating battery storage can help
prevent waste of excess energy and keep
the lights on during an outage.
Like other solar components, the cost
and performance of battery systems are
improving. However, off-grid or hybrid
solar systems that have battery storage are
considerably more expensive than gridtied solar systems. Due to higher costs,
if you are already connected to a reliable
grid, from a financial perspective adding
batteries to your solar system does not
currently make sense. However, if where
you live suffers from frequent and long
duration power outages, the increased
cost may be something worth considering
in order to attain energy independence.
DETERMINING YOUR SOLAR
POTENTIAL
How much energy your system can
generate depends on a number of factors.
Your installer will look at your roof size and
condition, as well as survey the area for
any obstructions, both current and future.
These obstructions include trees, chimneys
and walls that could shade the panels
and decrease efficiency. A professional
assessment, including the measuring of solar
irradiance (how much sunlight falls on your
roof), is required to get a good handle on
your potential system production.
Your roof's size plays an important role
in how many panels can fit, and therefore
what size system can be installed. Looking at
your roof's condition can also help you factor
in costs that might not be evident from the


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Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020

2020 Industry Leaders
Go Solar Guide
About Cansia
Introduction
How Does Solar Work?
Solar Photovoltaics
Solar Thermal
Solar Plus Storage
Determining Your Solar Potential
Net Metering
Investing in Sunshine
Lease to Own
Power Purchase Agreements
Community Generation
Pricing It Out
Choosing a Contractor
What if Something Goes Wrong?
Final Checklist and Questions to Ask
Glossary of Terms
Disclaimer
Cansia Member Directory
Index to Advertisers
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Intro
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - cover1
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - cover2
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 3
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 2020 Industry Leaders
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Introduction
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Determining Your Solar Potential
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Pricing It Out
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Glossary of Terms
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Disclaimer
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Cansia Member Directory
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 11
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 12
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - 13
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - Index to Advertisers
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - cover3
Canada's Go Solar Guide and Directory - 2020 - cover4
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