Solar energy is an affordable alternative energy source that can be used to power your home or business. However, when using two types of solar photovoltaic power generation in Canada, you should pay attention to some important considerations.
Although the cost of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for power generation has fallen sharply in recent years, it will take at least 20 years for homeowners in Canada to connect to the State Grid to recoup the investment at today's average electricity prices. However, in remote areas where there is no grid connection, off-grid solar photovoltaic systems can be used to store power in batteries, and reasonable investment can be made.
Using solar panels to help power your home
The solar photovoltaic (PV) system is mainly composed of solar panels, inverters, circuit breakers and installation equipment. Solar panels generate electricity by converting sunlight into direct current. Then use an inverter to convert DC power to AC power for your home use.
There are two main types of solar photovoltaic systems:
Grid-connected system, which feeds AC power directly to the local grid.
Off-grid system, storing DC power in batteries for later use.
It is important to note that any grid-connected system requires complex electrical connections and must be approved by the State Grid before installation to ensure safe and effective operation.
Solar panel costs, considerations in Canada
Due to technological advancements and higher efficiency systems that can produce higher power output, the cost of installing solar photovoltaic systems has steadily declined over the past decade.
In British Columbia, an unobstructed 1 kW solar photovoltaic system leaning to the south will generate approximately 1,200 kWh of electricity per year, or approximately 30,000 kWh over its 25-year service life. This takes into account the industry average solar panel efficiency decline rate of 0.5% per year.
With a total installation cost of approximately US$3,000, it would take you more than 25 years to recoup the investment at today's average electricity price.
In remote areas where there is no grid connection, off-grid solar photovoltaic systems can be used to store electricity in batteries, which can be used throughout the day or even at night. In British Columbia, when an off-grid system is installed where an alternative power source (such as a diesel generator) is needed, it can bring a reasonable investment.
Batteries are obviously an additional cost for off-grid systems, and depending on the type of batteries used, they require regular maintenance and/or replacement during the life of the system.
Solar energy has more than the payback period. We hope you consider your entire financial situation when deciding whether to buy solar panels. Yes, this is a major upfront cost, but just like buying a house, the cost of solar panels will be recovered over time.
As the efficiency increases and the cost of solar systems decreases, the relative payback period of solar systems will continue to become more beneficial to consumers.
Naturally, each situation will be slightly different, so these returns may not be what you are seeing, but the overall result will be the same, and in almost every situation.