Light on the subject

Here’s a solar-energy program in Ontario that varies markedly from the usual schemes proposed in the States:

I covered my roof with panels under the Ontario MicroFIT (Feed-in Tariff) program that ends next year. So far I think it’s only in Ontario, but some other provinces are thinking about it. The power I generate from the panels goes directly back to the grid, and I’m paid about 55 cents a kWh and will continue to be for the duration of my 20 year contract. So far this summer, even with all the rain, it translates to about $300-400/month. So the cost of the panels is paid for in about 6-8 years. After that, the money I make in the following 12 years is mine to keep!

Note that she’s not using any of the panel-produced power: it all goes back to the grid, and they pay her above-market rates for it. How does that work out?

Currently I pay about 10 cents a kWh when I use electricity, and that rate will likely go up. If it hits 55 cents in the next 20 years, then I’m better off using the solar power in my own home to decrease my reliance on the grid. BUT that means I need one of those backwards spinning meters, that read energy being used AND being generated, which aren’t yet allowed in my neck of the woods. Hopefully they’ll be able to implement them before I need them. As soon as that contract is up, I have to wire it into my home directly.

Since such meters exist elsewhere, it should be no trick to make Canadian versions available.

In the States, we get tax credits for installing such things. I’m not sure whether that’s an improvement.

1 comment

  1. Brian J. »

    19 August 2013 · 5:49 am

    It’s probably a win, even with higher than market rates, here in states where unthinking electorates have mandated that power companies produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources (electorates who vote for these sorts of things without linking the mandate to increased power rates are definitely unwise).

    If the power company pays a little extra for it but is not on the hook for building or maintaining the power panels, they get off cheaply.

    And they don’t have to pay to repair or replace the panels themselves when the first set of midwestern hail storms or high winds moves through.

    Which leads me to wonder what the installation will do to insurance rates for the homeowner. It might be enough to push that break even point out to nineteen or twenty years.

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