I bought a GS3 series 3.30kW system through a company out of Toronto 3 weeks ago and just received approval from OPA last week to make $0.802/kWh! I did quite a bit of research before choosing an installer and found one that offered a turnkey system. $23k plus gst got me all the equipment (15 panels, roof rack, inverter and meter, wiring, etc.) the installation, they walked me through the microFIT contract sign up (which I could have done myself) and gave a detailed design of where the panels would fit on my roof. They used a solar pathfinder analysis and gave me a projected annual revenue at around $3,700. Roof faces about 10 degrees off of south and my roof pitch is around 35 degrees. I have a small backyard facing our neighbors and no room for any trees that will grow tall enough to shade the system.michelb wrote: ↑May 11th, 2010 9:24 amThat's kind of what everyone wants to figure out and depending who you ask, you get different opinions. No doubt that $0.82kw is very generous and probably largest offered anywhere but is it enough?
Obviously it's important to factor all the costs. If you get a quote for a system (e.g. $8k mentioned above), does it include connection cost to hydro system and meter? does it include all permits and related costs (e.g. if you need a structural engineer to evaluate your roof to assess the load before you can get a permit)? does it include costs such as insurance, possible property value increase (I believe it's not suppose to affect it but I'd want to double check with your municipality), accounting costs and factor in income tax (this is business income and is taxable). does the amount include an electrictian or is it just for the equipment and install? You also have to factor equipment failure - the panels might be rated for 20 or 25 years but the inverter may not be and that might have to be replaced after 12 years. You also have to consider the roof itself; will it need re-shingling in 10 years? If so, you have to factor the cost of removing the solar array and then re-installing it. You also have to consider your income and equipment degradation (on year one, you might get $1000/yr/kw but after 5 years, you might just get $900/yr/kw - it's still within the acceptable wear limits but it's less output and less income) and the projections are based on optimal inclination and orientation, is it possible that part of the array will be in the shade now or later (if your neighbor is close and has trees, 10 years from now, if your array is in the shade part of the day, that will affect your income), etc.
In all fairness, personally, I do believe there's potential in the program and I am interested but it needs to be considered carefully and you also have to factor the size (could be that at 10kw at $8/kw (after factoring all expenses) it works but 2kw at $10kw it doesn't).
To answer some of these questions:
The price I paid included complete install and connection fees. I also got one free dismount and remount of the system included which I will eventually need since my home is 8 years old and will soon need roof work. A structural engineer IMO isnt really needed for such a small project. The average home roof in good shape can easily support the weight of the solar panels and potential snow load. An electrician will certainly be needed and is included in the install. I have to add the system to my home insurance but didnt really have a huge affect on what I pay already. If you put them on your roof, it doesnt change your property assessment value so I'm good there. Equipment degradation is factored in and also mentioned on my 25 year panel manufacturers warranty at 1% per year. Inverter has a 10 year warranty and will most likely need replacing between 10 and 15 years.
Needless to say my family and I are very excited and the install starts next week. From my research, I took into consideration the equipment used (panels and inverter), the cost of the job ($23k plus gst beat everyone else handsdown by about $4500 for the same equipment) PLUS I did not find anyone else who offered the free dismount and remount (however, they did stipulate that the offer was only valid with in the next 20 years but I plan on using it with in the next 5). Cost was a major factor but got a sole proprietorship which allows me to write off any revenue from the system until it is entirely paid off (visit your accountant for more info) and based on projected revenue (its projected, so take it for what its worth), our payback time is around 7 years.
Hope this info helps in your search.