Personal Finance

ONT ONLY - microFIT solar panel program: 10-14% return for 20 yrs * FAT LADY HAS SUNG

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 20th, 2017 12:38 pm
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
583 posts
65 upvotes
North York
Since for tiered pricing it's a blended rate it's around 9-10 cents which is actually not that bad. And the rate rises after 900kwh and I only use about 500kwh.

After basent apartment is completed I'm expectingiy will be 700-800, still less than 900kwh for tiered rate for Net metering.

So theoretically I shouldn't be worried for tiered pricing when they time comes.

Also Wynn is lowering rates for next 4 years so Microfit will be even more profitable for this time period until it makes sense to go Net metering.

I know I posted 10kwh for about $30k, but I also got. Quote for 6kwh for about $20k which might make more sense sense I'm not using my electricity. Plus microfit rate us 31 cents vs 29 cents for 10kwh system.

Also I got the quote at Lowes rep at store. They partnered with Solar Brokers who own 30% of the market. Plus I feel a bit safer with 25yr warranty though Lowes as they should be around vs some pop up solar companies.

One question is that I require a roof in about 5 years or so. I've heard that you can write off roof cost (about $10k) if you have existing solar, is this true ?
Newbie
Nov 21, 2010
10 posts
2 upvotes
Pickering
I just finished a 10kw install in Toronto.

Found a great person to work worth and everything went quite smoothly. I got it up just in time for June - thankfully we're getting some sun this month. Didn't miss much this spring it appears.

I've put my info up at here.

I chose net metering over microfit.

My main motivation was to just have my own power - I'm tired of being at the whim of politics for an otherwise simple commodity.

It is not a great investment, but on the other hand, it's low risk and pays better than a GIC.

My way of looking at it is this: if you pay $200/month for power, you need to earn $300 if you're in a mid tax bracket. That's $3600 that could go into an RSP (if you don't have the cash, you deduct the HELOC interest charge on the loan). Add to that the added benefit of reducing the wear and tear on a large section of your roof, and you have a decent long term somewhat fixed investment.

Electricity is an expense you cannot reduce much or eliminate. You may as well attempt to pay yourself if you have the roof. All homeowners in the GTA should have the money, based on the massive run-up of the value of your real estate.

I do wish the Ontario government would offer some sort of tax break for those that install net meter solar systems. Instead of supplying the system with microfit (which is ending), why not replace it with a system that encourages self-sustenance of power?

If anyone wants a referral to a very good installer, please PM me here and I will set you up. I paid in the $30K range for 10kw. While this may seem high, I bought what I was told the best panels (280w) and don't mind paying for quality (what I perceive as) service. You either pay now or pay later for quality workmanship.

Here's a pic of my western roof.
back roof.jpg
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 18, 2005
10406 posts
1885 upvotes
Kingston
gladman wrote:
Jun 19th, 2017 5:29 am
My main motivation was to just have my own power - I'm tired of being at the whim of politics for an otherwise simple commodity.
Congratulations on going solar! It would be great if you could add your experiences to the Net Metering thread.
gladman wrote:
Jun 19th, 2017 5:29 am
It is not a great investment, but on the other hand, it's low risk and pays better than a GIC. My way of looking at it is this: if you pay $200/month for power, you need to earn $300 if you're in a mid tax bracket. That's $3600 that could go into an RSP (if you don't have the cash, you deduct the HELOC interest charge on the loan). Add to that the added benefit of reducing the wear and tear on a large section of your roof, and you have a decent long term somewhat fixed investment.
I hestitate to provide a counterpoint as you are committed to your choice and it was primarily for non-financial reasons, but I do so to provide info to others considering net metering:
  • In terms of investment it does have significant "illiquidity" risk. Unlike a stock or GIC you can't (easily) sell this investment and if you sell your house there is a lot of uncertainty on how much you'd get back.
  • People who go the microFIT route get back the HST on their purchase which would be around $3,500.
  • Going with microFIT provides a greater return for 20 years, about double initially but that would decline as hydro rates rise (eventually you could switch to net metering, although there is a cost to do so).
  • On a $200/month hydro bill, net metering would likely provide a benefit of around $175-160/month. You'd still pay about $25-40/month since part of the bill is fixed delivery charge and when you use more than you generate (probably mostly in the winter) you don't get credit for the HST (you pay HST on the net use and don't get it back when you have generate a net credit).
  • If you don't use about 11,000+kwh hours per year you'll be generating more than you use and not receive any compensation for the excess.
Sr. Member
May 5, 2007
583 posts
65 upvotes
North York
I've actually decided against getting Solar altogether. The return on investment just doesn't make sense and you're locked in for what seems like forever.

Plus I have a roof to replace in a few years and the cost to take off the panels and replace again is about $3000!

Plus what most companies don't tell you unless you ask the right questions is that it costs 700-$1000 to switch to Net metering down the Road. For me, that's added $4000 costs on top of a $34k installation cost which makes the pushes the payback from 11 years to 13-14 years which is way too long be locked in for.

I will wait it out after I get my new Roof in a few years and maybe there will be an incentive program like EV cars that comes or the payback is half of what it is now for Net Metering.

Thanks to everyone who provided insight and helped me come to this decision.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 14, 2012
1227 posts
270 upvotes
Woodbridge
afshaikh wrote:
Jun 19th, 2017 10:50 pm
I've actually decided against getting Solar altogether. The return on investment just doesn't make sense and you're locked in for what seems like forever.

Plus I have a roof to replace in a few years and the cost to take off the panels and replace again is about $3000!

Plus what most companies don't tell you unless you ask the right questions is that it costs 700-$1000 to switch to Net metering down the Road. For me, that's added $4000 costs on top of a $34k installation cost which makes the pushes the payback from 11 years to 13-14 years which is way too long be locked in for.

I will wait it out after I get my new Roof in a few years and maybe there will be an incentive program like EV cars that comes or the payback is half of what it is now for Net Metering.

Thanks to everyone who provided insight and helped me come to this decision.
I had to as well, keep in mind you can write off portion of roof covered by panels for the new roof installation (CRA rejected at first as I put 100% lol).

Shop around on price, 34K is very expensive at current pricing.
Newbie
Mar 11, 2010
82 posts
2 upvotes
Mississauga
Johnny0c wrote:
Jun 20th, 2017 11:32 am
I had to as well, keep in mind you can write off portion of roof covered by panels for the new roof installation (CRA rejected at first as I put 100% lol).

Shop around on price, 34K is very expensive at current pricing.
Second it. 34K is way too much.
Jr. Member
Aug 31, 2015
139 posts
28 upvotes
Scarborough, ON
afshaikh wrote:
Jun 19th, 2017 10:50 pm
I will wait it out after I get my new Roof in a few years and maybe there will be an incentive program like EV cars that comes or the payback is half of what it is now for Net Metering.
There is/was such an incentive program. It is called microFIT. And in most instances it is WAY more generous than the subsidy for EVs.

My revenue in 2016 from microFIT was about $5000 for the 13MWh of energy that I produced (I have a 2015 system so I get $0.384/kWh). If instead this energy went to offest the electricity that I used and I assumed that 5/7 was at the peak rate and 2/7 was at the off-peak rate I would have saved about $2600 from my electrical bill. So the subsidy is currently worth $2400/ year and it may be higher in 2017 as electricity prices are lower - but it looks like my power generated will be way lower.

When I bought my Tesla I received a provincial rebate of $8500 plus another $850 to help pay for a charger at home. My microFIT subsidy will pass that $9350 amount in under three years, unless rates skyrocket in the next year which is unlikely given the political environment. The EV subsidies are now a bit higher - I think they go up to $14,000 plus up to $1000 for a charger.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 8, 2014
500 posts
390 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Well, some of us have two EV's, so subsidy is $17000 for 4 years ... and I'm looking at an Ioniq which would be $31000 in subsidy over 3 cars and 7 years...
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 8, 2014
500 posts
390 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Ok. Microfit didn't work for me because of the requirement that the solar panels must be installed on a roof. My roof is shaded, but I have a huge ravine lot with lots of sun, so I'm going to DIY some netmeter solar for <$1/watt with 5 year payback.
[OP]
Deal Guru
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Nov 18, 2005
10406 posts
1885 upvotes
Kingston
SmartElectric wrote:
Jun 24th, 2017 12:41 am
Ok. Microfit didn't work for me because of the requirement that the solar panels must be installed on a roof. My roof is shaded, but I have a huge ravine lot with lots of sun, so I'm going to DIY some netmeter solar for <$1/watt with 5 year payback.
When you get to your DIY project please include the details in the Net Metering thread. Where are you planning on getting the materials so cheap?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 8, 2014
500 posts
390 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Used solar panels and micro inverters for 10 panels, simple AC shut off switch, 240V wiring already in place 10 meters from panel location, ground racking is free (left over from decking)
I'll take pictures and post a blog on it. I'm going low end, no need to go 300W panels with large inverter, I'm just building enough solar to offset mid-day electricity use.
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 29, 2015
46 posts
19 upvotes
Bradford, ON
Took the plunge on the microfit program. I was able to get a great price for a 9.3kw system. Panels will be going up in the next few weeks and hopefully all this rain and cloud cover will be behind us. Also just got my roof redone with 50 year shingles (I know that only typically means 20 year) , so there shouldn't be any reason to have to take these panels down for a long time. Really looking forward to seeing it all working and knowing that I am contributing to helping the environment.

Thank you for all the knowledge provided in this thread. I'll definitely be making reference to it for years to come.
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 18, 2005
10406 posts
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Kingston
MoreDealz wrote:
Jun 24th, 2017 8:58 pm
Took the plunge on the microfit program. I was able to get a great price for a 9.3kw system. Panels will be going up in the next few weeks and hopefully all this rain and cloud cover will be behind us. Also just got my roof redone with 50 year shingles (I know that only typically means 20 year) , so there shouldn't be any reason to have to take these panels down for a long time. Really looking forward to seeing it all working and knowing that I am contributing to helping the environment.

Thank you for all the knowledge provided in this thread. I'll definitely be making reference to it for years to come.
Congrats! Welcome aboard.
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 29, 2015
46 posts
19 upvotes
Bradford, ON
Although the fat lady sang her song, I still think it's worth the investment and it's a great way to help our the environment. Over the past 3 years of learning about solar energies I have devised a few projects that will help around the house and I'll be able to teach the kids during the process. Does anyone have cameras mounted to their roof to monitor their panels. I have been thinking of installing waterproof cameras to monitor the panels during the winter for snow coverage. This way I will know what panels require cleaning. Not sure how I would mount these cameras, but looking into it. Does anyone know if there is camera integration ability in the phone app to monitor the panels (I'll be getting a solar edge inverter). Thanks!

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