Green / Eco-Friendly

"Free solar panels" offers?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 18th, 2017 7:19 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 26, 2006
524 posts
36 upvotes
Toronto

"Free solar panels" offers?

Got a notice from two different companies in a week (Vantage Energy and Gala Energy), both claiming to install free solar panels and pay us. How does that work? Would I also get access to the energy generated to subsidize or completely supplant my ridiculous Hydro bills? Thanks.
11 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
3065 posts
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Edmonton
pricecheck wrote:
May 12th, 2017 10:39 am
Got a notice from two different companies in a week (Vantage Energy and Gala Energy), both claiming to install free solar panels and pay us. How does that work? Would I also get access to the energy generated to subsidize or completely supplant my ridiculous Hydro bills? Thanks.
I bet that notice has a phone number or website...

C
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 26, 2006
524 posts
36 upvotes
Toronto
CNeufeld wrote:
May 12th, 2017 2:40 pm
I bet that notice has a phone number or website...

C
Vantage's website doesn't make anything clear; Gala's website doesn't mention anything about being able to use the power generated.

What I really want to know is which solar panel company is better/more reliable and opinion of people who have dealt with these companies or similar companies.

Wasn't expecting such a passive aggressive response...
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Mar 23, 2008
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pricecheck wrote:
May 12th, 2017 4:15 pm
Vantage's website doesn't make anything clear; Gala's website doesn't mention anything about being able to use the power generated.

What I really want to know is which solar panel company is better/more reliable and opinion of people who have dealt with these companies or similar companies.

Wasn't expecting such a passive aggressive response...
You asked how it worked. You asked if you got access to the energy to subsidize your bill. A phone call at 8 am would have gotten you answers to these questions by 8:15...

Apparently, you didn't ask what you REALLY wanted to know, which was "which one was better/more reliable and opinion of people who have dealt with these companies"... If you would have asked THAT question in your original post, I wouldn't have said anything because I don't have any knowledge of which one is better, and obviously, phoning them isn't going to help with that.

C
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Mar 23, 2008
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BTW, there's a 129 page thread in the Personal Finance forum about the MicroFIT program (which these companies fall under, I believe). The consensus seems to be that right now, it's not a good investment.

C
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May 23, 2009
1424 posts
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Mississauga
I'm not sure how you thing a company can just give you $30,000+ worth solar panels for free no strings attached. They wont use stings but a chain will be attached to your house till they make at least their investment back or more.

Basic explanation is your roof is leased to them, they install their panels on it and sign a contract with you. Every month the companies give you a check for using your roof. When you decide to sell your house in 5 years time don't expect them to just take the loss and remove the panels at no charge. If you think water heater rental companies are bad, these guys are on a different league since more money is involved.
Deal Addict
Jul 6, 2005
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Toronto
bubuski wrote:
May 14th, 2017 9:42 am
When you decide to sell your house in 5 years time don't expect them to just take the loss and remove the panels at no charge. If you think water heater rental companies are bad, these guys are on a different league since more money is involved.
Very interesting....any stories (RFD Posts or published news articles) that support this? I got out of my reliance water heater rental scam last year, but never equated these solar panels to operate on the same scummy level
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Oct 26, 2003
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Winnipeg
CNeufeld wrote:
May 12th, 2017 5:46 pm
BTW, there's a 129 page thread in the Personal Finance forum about the MicroFIT program (which these companies fall under, I believe). The consensus seems to be that right now, it's not a good investment.

C
even with ontario's ridiculous rebate?
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Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
1424 posts
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Mississauga
Repooc wrote:
May 15th, 2017 4:25 pm
Very interesting....any stories (RFD Posts or published news articles) that support this? I got out of my reliance water heater rental scam last year, but never equated these solar panels to operate on the same scummy level
It's been discussed a few times but one of the few threads with "free solar panel" is below. Lots of shifty stuff happens.

Grasshopper being one of the popular companies to offer this service. Just search for grasshopper / "free solar panels" redflagdeals and a few threads will come up. See the ones I linked below.
free-solar-panels-grasshopper-1512281/
grasshopper-solar-lease-program-similar ... 1070061/2/

This is from the Grasshopper website.
http://go.grasshoppersolar.com/freesolarprogram/lease/
We engineer, install & maintain the panels at no cost;
and pay you $3,000, or $400 annually for 20 years, for an otherwise unused asset (the contract term is mandated by the OPA).
So these solar lease companies pay the homeowner ~$3000 upfront, or ~$8000 over 20 yrs and install their panels on your roof. The panels market value will be around $30,000 and the company will be making at least $2500 per year from the IESO. The homeowner has a 20 yr lease with the govt but also ends up in a locked lease with "the free solar company" for 20 yrs which is not easy to get out from. An interesting question to ask the company is what happens after 10 yrs if the home owner sells the house or changes their mind about the solar panel which is already installed.
Even the solar generation payments are a grey area as it is against microfit solar rules for the residential homeowner to sign the payments to over to them. These free solar lease companies cant sign a microfit contract with the government so the homeowner signs the microfit contract and somehow diverts the check from the solar generation to the solar lease company.
Homeowner insurance will also be different when compared to an owned panel.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
1424 posts
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divx wrote:
May 15th, 2017 5:36 pm
even with ontario's ridiculous rebate?
Yeah, panels cost a little more. Net-metering hardly ever paid and microfit program rate went down.
Microfit used to be around ~$0.80 back in 2009 and was still alright when the rate went down to ~$0.38 over the years. Now the govt pays less than $0.30 per kWh for new contracts.
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Apr 22, 2014
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Oshawa, ON
bubuski wrote:
May 15th, 2017 5:59 pm
Yeah, panels cost a little more. Net-metering hardly ever paid and microfit program rate went down.
Microfit used to be around ~$0.80 back in 2009 and was still alright when the rate went down to ~$0.38 over the years. Now the govt pays less than $0.30 per kWh for new contracts.
net metering works as a perfect hedge against hydro costs if your total annual production = total annual cost.
figure out the PV of that and you figure what your breakeven is to build a solar system on your own dime. I figured about 20k is what I would pay. It costs more than double that to get what I need.
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Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1088 posts
189 upvotes
Toronto
You are probably seeing an uptick in the number of ads because this is the last kick at the can for a number of these companies...Microfit ends at the end of this year, and it is a 6mth approval timeframe/install.
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