Ask me anything about selling electricity to the grid in Ontario
I know there are some threads that are about the Green energy act and some threads about installing PV panels. I wanted to start a thread about how to sell electricity back to the grid in Ontario. I have talked via PM's with many people about this and I think the information would be usefull in it's own thread.
To start the process I would first determine if you have a good spot for solar panels. The spot you choose should face south east to south west with as close to south being the best. If it is going on a roof, a slope of around 30 degrees is best, but there is a large window where the angle will make little difference. You should have no shade between 9am and 3 pm.
The OPA (Ontario power authority) administers the program. They give out the 20 year contract. You apply online to the OPA after you have determined you have a good spot for solar panels. The approval may take a few weeks. Anything under 10kw should be approved easily. Over 10kw needs an enviromental assessment but my understanding is that it is easy to do.
Most people start the process by talking to a solar installer so they usually have an idea of how big a system they can put on thier roof. When you make your application to OPA you will need to tell them how big of a system you want to install, and how you will meet the Ontario Requirements. In 2010 all you have to do to meet the requirement is use a rack made in Ontario. In 2011 it gets tougher and probably more expensive so if you are seriously considering a PV project I would try to do it before Jan 1, 2011.
So once you get your approval from the OPA you can build your project. You or your electriction will need an electrical permit from your local hydro provider. You don't need to ask you hydro provider for permission to put up panels, you already have that permission from OPA. You will need to install a second meter called a revenue meter that will measure how much electricity you produce and feed back into the grid. You will be paid 80.2 cents per KW (which is huge!) so you want to sell everything you produce and buy your hydro back at 12 cents/Kw. The revenue meter will be connected behind your hydro meter. What that means is that any electricity you produce will be used by your house first and any extra will be sent out to the grid. (you will still be paid for everything you produce) The reason they do it this way is that when your revenue meter is installed they only have to shut your meter off, not other houses on the street. If they hooked your revenue meter up in front of your comsumption meter, they may have to shut off other houses on the street so the wires are dead going to your house so they can hook it up.
Your meter will cost you about $1,000 and your account fee will be $7 to $15 a month, depending on your local Hydro company.
So your panels get installed, your meter is in place, you flip the switch and start making money...But now you have to wait for your local hydro company to get the paperwork back to OPA to tell them you are hooked up. OPA has said that they will pay you from as soon as you start producing even though you will not have your contract with OPA finalized. So don't worry that you are feeding the grid and you don't have a contract yet. OPA will eventually send you a final contract via email (they do EVERYTHING by email) which you approve and send back to them. Then you just have to sit back and wait for your cheque. I believe you have a choice of direct deposit our getting a cheque. The meter is only read every 3 months so it may be a while until you get a cheque.
I have 2.5 KW on my house and I finished all the paperwork about a month ago. I am awaiting my first cheque. On the first day of the program in late September I woke up at 6am and put in my application. I was one of the first group of 700 contracts that were awarded before Christmas. I got my final contract in April. It took me a long time to get all the paperwork from OPA but my understanding is they are much faster now that the initial rush is over.