Green / Eco-Friendly

Ask me anything about selling electricity to the grid in Ontario

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Newbie
Apr 6, 2008
18 posts
2 upvotes
anoopi wrote:
May 6th, 2011 11:00 pm
Yes, but if you only have 500 watts of grid tied solar panels, it would generate way too little for it to be worth the hassle. Your bills will still be lower whenever the sun is shining.
500W is way too low for anything but a test. In the net metering scenario (a single meter), your earnings could be 0.5kW * 1200kWh/kWpk * $0.15/kWh = $90/year. I wouldn't consider drilling holes in my roof (and risk some leaks in the future) for this amount. My calculations show that a 3kW system is still a bad investment. However, 10kW is a totally different story. Too bad my roof can only accommodate 3kW :-(
Regards,
Vasile

SearchingForGreen
Sr. Member
Oct 7, 2009
814 posts
49 upvotes
You have to consider that your local hydro will charge you between $1000 and $1500 for your "reverse" meter and hookup. So small installation will have a very long payback period.
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Newbie
May 13, 2009
77 posts
2 upvotes
Hey all, I am looking for really cheap solar panels. I need around 400 more watts and large panels, i'd say about 150 watts each or larger. I am going to be using them on my shed.

Thanks
Member
Mar 3, 2006
433 posts
24 upvotes
you could also apply for it and only get the electrical installation (disconnect switch and meter) and just sell them back the electricity that you bought for 10c/kw :D that would get a really fast ROI
Newbie
May 24, 2011
92 posts
12 upvotes
One of my clients has been approached by an engineering company and asked if they were interested in putting solar panels on their roof. They have about 27,400 sq ft (it's an industrial building in Etobicoke) which is enough room for a 160 Kw project. One option is to buy the solar panels and have them installed and collect money from the FiT program at $0.713/Kwh which translates to ~$150k per year while the other option is to simply lease out their roof space for $17,500/year. Capital costs are in the neighbourhood of $1 million while the leasing option has no upfront costs.

The numbers look good, but I've been trying to find testimonials of commercial solar projects in North America and can't seem to find any info. I want to find out if these numbers are actually being realized. I've read on this forum that $1,000/Kwh is a good estimate in the GTA which is just slightly higher than what this project is expected to generate. Does anyone know other websites discussing larger solar projects? I can only find residential testimonials.

Further, I want to figure out if these rates are sustainable. I understand that the rates for new projects will most likely come down in the near future, but will existing rates be upheld? For an operation this size, it looks like you can make 15% return, but only at the existing rates. Can people see these contracts being broken?

My client is going to get other quotes, but can anyone comment on the capital cost of a project like this? I've read that panels cost about $3/watt which would translate to $480,000 for this system. Would installation merit another $480k - $500k?

Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Newbie
Apr 6, 2008
18 posts
2 upvotes
Ricardo1CA wrote:
Aug 15th, 2011 4:01 pm
The numbers look good, but I've been trying to find testimonials of commercial solar projects in North America and can't seem to find any info. I want to find out if these numbers are actually being realized. I've read on this forum that $1,000/Kwh is a good estimate in the GTA which is just slightly higher than what this project is expected to generate. Does anyone know other websites discussing larger solar projects? I can only find residential testimonials.
I don't think the project's size changes much the efficiency. The main limiting factors are in the in physics of PV panels. A bigger installation is composed of a many more panels than a residential one, but they may be the same panels.

For keeping costs down, large installations sometimes use thin film PV panels. They are slightly less efficient, but also less expensive, so the economics are better. In that case, the annual production is certainly lower than for crystalline silicon (almost always used in residential systems), but I don't know by how much. There are tools like RetScreen which can probably help you on that.

Also, please note that the number you quoted is probably for rooftop installations with no shadow (sloped roofs). If you install large arrays on a flat roof, you will certainly lose some production due to shadowing by the other rows of panels, mostly in the morning evening and in the winter time.

As for examples in NA, Google themselves have a pretty big installation in Mountain View, just google them :-))). Locally, Direct Energy Centre (the big building at The Exhibition Place) have published the results of some tests, not sure how large the arrays were.
Ricardo1CA wrote:
Aug 15th, 2011 4:01 pm
Further, I want to figure out if these rates are sustainable. I understand that the rates for new projects will most likely come down in the near future, but will existing rates be upheld? For an operation this size, it looks like you can make 15% return, but only at the existing rates. Can people see these contracts being broken?
Like anyone else, the government can break any contract. Usually, there's a penalty for that. For such a big investment, your friends should afford a lawyer to oversee the contract. If I'm not mistaken, the general contract is public, look for it on the OPA site.
Regards,
Vasile

SearchingForGreen
Newbie
May 24, 2011
92 posts
12 upvotes
icabrindus wrote:
Aug 15th, 2011 5:21 pm
As for examples in NA, Google themselves have a pretty big installation in Mountain View, just google them :-))). Locally, Direct Energy Centre (the big building at The Exhibition Place) have published the results of some tests, not sure how large the arrays were.

Thanks, but I can't find any published results on the Direct Energy Centre.
Newbie
Apr 6, 2008
18 posts
2 upvotes
Ricardo1CA wrote:
Aug 16th, 2011 11:05 am
Thanks, but I can't find any published results on the Direct Energy Centre.

The first google search returned this: "A Photovoltaic plant that uses the adjacent Horse Palace's 130,000-square-foot flat roof to collect solar energy. This 100kw plant when constructed was the largest in Canada and our future plans to expand the plant to 1 to 2 megawatts will reduce CO2 emissions annually by 1,906 tonnes". And a pic (they look like mono-crystalline panels, probably around 200W each).

A second search ("Horse Palace solar panels" ) returned the June, 2009 report.
Regards,
Vasile

SearchingForGreen
Newbie
May 24, 2011
92 posts
12 upvotes
icabrindus wrote:
Aug 16th, 2011 12:04 pm
The first google search returned this: "A Photovoltaic plant that uses the adjacent Horse Palace's 130,000-square-foot flat roof to collect solar energy. This 100kw plant when constructed was the largest in Canada and our future plans to expand the plant to 1 to 2 megawatts will reduce CO2 emissions annually by 1,906 tonnes". And a pic (they look like mono-crystalline panels, probably around 200W each).

A second search ("Horse Palace solar panels" ) returned the June, 2009 report.

Thanks again. I read through the report. According to that report, they only produced 981kWh/kW.

The company quoting my client estimates 1,357kWh/kW for an AC system and 1,150kWh/kW for a DC system for their location in Etobicoke. After looking into this a bit more, I discovered the PV Potential website by Natural Resources Canada (here which states that Toronto only has a PV Potential of 1,173kWh/kW.

We will have to ask them how they justify 1,357kWh/kW in their forecast.
Deal Addict
Sep 30, 2008
1580 posts
189 upvotes
anoopi wrote:
May 6th, 2011 12:51 pm
I have a question/comment

If you grid tie, and you have a smart meter, how will the electricity company know whether or not you are pumping electricity back into the grid? They only have the means to monitor how much you use and at what time of the day. Since the electricity that you generate does flow back through the smart meter, the electricity company will have no way of knowing that you are pumping electricity back into the grid.

Can anyone respond?
I know this was posted since May, but i didn't see anyone answer your question yet, hopefully you figured out to read the first post as it answers your question.


They measure how much you produce, using another meter that you have to pay to get installed...


Here I bold and underlined it for you.
Heynow999 wrote:
May 9th, 2010 11:47 am

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.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2007
2040 posts
578 upvotes
London
Is there a program currently set up to sell power back to the grid in Ontario?

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