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[OP]
Jr. Member
Mar 18, 2015
170 posts
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Mississauga, ON

Roof Solar Panel ROI

Anyone done any actual calculations on ROI for putting up solar panels on the roof.
And I don't mean selling back the power you generate at an extremely inflated price of 80c and consuming at like 10c
I mean for personal use. You use up what you generate and only go to the grid if you have a short fall.
How many years until break even or do you even get to that point?
14 replies
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
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Mississauga
In the GTA, off grid is not worth it with the current price of equipment. ROI should be pretty easy to calculate. Cost of equipment divide by your current yearly hydro cost ...that gives an estimate for number of years for a payback.

A reliable 10kw system at my current consumption level will take about 16 years. In addition, the hydro utility company still has a bunch of fees they charge even with minimal hydro use.

microFIT is the way to get payback quickly and the 80c has been gone for almost 4 years. microFIT4.0 is now hardly worth it unless you can source a really cheap 6kw system. There is a microFIT thread in the personal finance forum.
ont-only-microfit-solar-panel-program-1 ... g-1334001/
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Oct 6, 2010
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bubuski wrote:
Aug 23rd, 2016 2:31 pm
In the GTA, off grid is not worth it with the current price of equipment. ROI should be pretty easy to calculate. Cost of equipment divide by your current yearly hydro cost ...that gives an estimate for number of years for a payback.

A reliable 10kw system at my current consumption level will take about 16 years. In addition, the hydro utility company still has a bunch of fees they charge even with minimal hydro use.

microFIT is the way to get payback quickly and the 80c has been gone for almost 4 years. microFIT4.0 is now hardly worth it unless you can source a really cheap 6kw system. There is a microFIT thread in the personal finance forum.
ont-only-microfit-solar-panel-program-1 ... g-1334001/
Might I ask what your minimal costs are? I was thinking/interesting in the OP, but based on your evaluation, it doesn't seem like going solar to get off grid isn't worth it... :sadface:
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May 23, 2009
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koffey wrote:
Nov 18th, 2016 10:09 am
Might I ask what your minimal costs are? I was thinking/interesting in the OP, but based on your evaluation, it doesn't seem like going solar to get off grid isn't worth it... :sadface:
I actually do not have Solar. I looked into it earlier this year and noticed that I missed the boat. My utility company Enersouces charges a fixed fee of $34.42 every 2 months to keep an account open for meter reading, administration and billing.

From what I understood there are two main paths to take. Net-metering or microFIT. I've linked two RFD threads below with discussion

In Net-metering you use some of your solar generation and send the remainder to the grid to be kept as a credit which you'll have to use within 12 months.
While a battery storage will be helpful in this case, you might go a couple of days without good sunlight for generation and will need to use hydro from the grid. You consume your credits first and then start getting billed for continued usage. Since you'll have to remain connected to the grid for these cases, you'll be charged the minimum monthly fixed fee I mentioned above if you can survive 2 months without consuming off the grid.
Your account will also be switched from TOU to RRP for the kWh rate. My break even was around 16 years without maintenance of the panels.

microFIT sells 100% back to the grid. You sign a 20 yr contract with the govt at a fixed selling rate. This is where you get good payback because you are selling to the grid at a much more expensive rate than you are buying for your in-home hydro consumption. As of now, equipment cost has gone up slightly and the generation selling rates has dropped with Microfit 4.0. At last year's rate break even was well under 10 yrs

There was a third option where your rent roof to company A and they install solar panels at zero cost to you . I think this loop was closed recently but it could get very complicated when it is time to sell your house.
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Nov 18, 2005
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bubuski wrote:
Nov 18th, 2016 11:15 am
In Net-metering you use some of your solar generation and send the remainder to the grid to be kept as a credit which you'll have to use within 12 months.
While a battery storage will be helpful in this case, you might go a couple of days without good sunlight for generation and will need to use hydro from the grid. You consume your credits first and then start getting billed for continued usage. Since you'll have to remain connected to the grid for these cases, you'll be charged the minimum monthly fixed fee I mentioned above if you can survive 2 months without consuming off the grid.
Your account will also be switched from TOU to RRP for the kWh rate. My break even was around 16 years without maintenance of the panels.

There was a third option where your rent roof to company A and they install solar panels at zero cost to you . I think this loop was closed recently but it could get very complicated when it is time to sell your house.
For net metering there is no reason to have batteries. The grid is your virtual battery since your excess goes to the grid and you can use it later for free.

Third parties are still flogging "renting your roof" but it is a terrible deal. They characterize it as "renting your roof" but in reality the homeowner is entering into a long term lease to buy the panels. If you sell your house you would likely need to buy out the lease which could be $30K plus in the early years of the lease.

Last time I did some calcs the ROI for net metering was something like 6% over 20 years but it is all up front sunk cost so you have to have them in place for 20 years to earn 6%. Not worth the risk unless you just have to have solar for other reasons.
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May 23, 2009
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JWL wrote:
Nov 18th, 2016 11:49 am
For net metering there is no reason to have batteries. The grid is your virtual battery since your excess goes to the grid and you can use it later for free.

Third parties are still flogging "renting your roof" but it is a terrible deal. They characterize it as "renting your roof" but in reality the homeowner is entering into a long term lease to buy the panels. If you sell your house you would likely need to buy out the lease which could be $30K plus in the early years of the lease.

Last time I did some calcs the ROI for net metering was something like 6% over 20 years but it is all up front sunk cost so you have to have them in place for 20 years to earn 6%. Not worth the risk unless you just have to have solar for other reasons.
Thanks for chiming in. You are way more knowledgeable on solar.

Is there any reasonable advantage in having a battery on net-metering? I ask because the battery option got included for the Oshawa residents who are on the Japanese solar project.
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Nov 18, 2005
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bubuski wrote:
Nov 18th, 2016 2:28 pm
Thanks for chiming in. You are way more knowledgeable on solar.

Is there any reasonable advantage in having a battery on net-metering? I ask because the battery option got included for the Oshawa residents who are on the Japanese solar project.
No idea why they included batteries with that project.
Member
Feb 28, 2015
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Toronto, ON
If the US dollar ever tanks, I'm getting two Tesla power walls and pulling the plug! Hopefully by that time their roof system is a reasonable price also.
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May 23, 2009
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skoalman123 wrote:
Dec 7th, 2016 9:56 am
If the US dollar ever tanks, I'm getting two Tesla power walls and pulling the plug! Hopefully by that time their roof system is a reasonable price also.
ROI does not add up. You'll still need to buy solar panels to recharge the powerwalls so pushing $40k easily.
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Feb 28, 2015
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Toronto, ON
bubuski wrote:
Dec 7th, 2016 3:01 pm
ROI does not add up. You'll still need to buy solar panels to recharge the powerwalls so pushing $40k easily.
$6000 for two powerwalls, $8500 for the panels, $1500 for a wind turbine. That's a far cry from $40 grand!
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May 23, 2009
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skoalman123 wrote:
Dec 8th, 2016 11:24 am
$6000 for two powerwalls, $8500 for the panels, $1500 for a wind turbine. That's a far cry from $40 grand!
I'm not sure how low you are expecting the US dollar to tank for the prices you are quoting or your source. Each 14 kWh powerwall is US$5500. Solar Roof Tiles to support a house that needs two powerwalls will not be US$8500...if I Iet it slide that is US$19,500 already. If you supply the parts, install labour cost and permits in Ontario will almost double the cost...at least $10,000 on top, then add HST.

I'll bet it's much closer to my $40K estimate than your $16K
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Apr 22, 2014
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Oshawa, ON
6kw system in place. Saves about $100/month at current prices. Supposed to work for 20 years.
Assuming 0% interest for IRR and no growth in prices, that's 20*12*100 = 24000.
House insurance went up in cost after install too... so the break even value would be somewhere well short of $24,000 for a 6kw system. IF it actually goes for 20 years and there are no unforeseen large maintenance costs.
Current prices are a rip off. Installed systems need to come down by at least half, but they are being distorted by subsidies still.
If prices do come down by half or more, people are going to be going off grid so fast Kathleen Wynne won't know what hit her.
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Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2014
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Oshawa, ON
skoalman123 wrote:
Dec 7th, 2016 9:56 am
If the US dollar ever tanks, I'm getting two Tesla power walls and pulling the plug! Hopefully by that time their roof system is a reasonable price also.
THere are much cheaper/better options to the power walls FYI. Don't be blinded by marketing and branding.
I have a Panasonic box with 10Kwh that cost about 1/2 price of a powerwall. But it sits on the floor by the Tabuchi inverter, which is on the wall. Looks like a steel cube though. Not too sexy looking. But it's in a utility room, not in the foyer.
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skoalman123 wrote:
Dec 7th, 2016 9:56 am
If the US dollar ever tanks, I'm getting two Tesla power walls and pulling the plug! Hopefully by that time their roof system is a reasonable price also.
Unless you don't have access to the grid (live too remotely) there is no reason to spend money on batteries and "pull the plug". With net metering the grid is your virtual battery and has unlimited supply if your power generation system doesn't produce enough.
Jr. Member
Oct 27, 2013
152 posts
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MISSISSAUGA
Not worth it. Met with grasshopper sales guy last year gave me his pitch (at least he tried) but there's no +ROI (currently) with borrowed money at 2% (at the time). I didn't even include intangibles like devaluing your house (ya they say it improves value aaahem...bull5/-/1T. That house with the panels always seems to hang on to selling just a weenie bit. Got to move to Godsland where dem farmers live they seem to understand it). Do yourself a favour commit yourself to the $30gs you were about to blow fully upfront and dump the whole amount immediately into a couch potato portfolio. In 10 year's time...actually maybe even 5...you can thank me.

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