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Solar Panels Ontario Canada Guide on Cost,Sale,Manufacturers and Rebate (Microfit)

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Solar PanelsSolar Panels Demand has exploded in Ontario Canada boosted the the provincial government MicroFit program which gives a generous feed in tariff (higher electricity price) for the solar power generated from silicon solar panels fitted to your home or office.The Feed-in-Tariff depends on the size of the solar installation and is guaranteed for 20 years at a fixed price.This implies that you not only save on power bills but also get a much higher electricity price for the solar energy electricity that you are generating.This has led to a veritable boom in solar panels sale in Ontario and made it the fastest growing solar energy region in the whole of North America.However solar panels cannot be bought from anybody to qualify you for a government rebate.Only Solar Panels which meet the domestic production criteria can get solar rebates from the government.

Solar Panel Rebates in Ontario

How to get Solar Rebates for your home under microfit program.Under the microFIT Program, you will be paid a guaranteed price for all the electricity your project produces for at least 20 years.You can read the complete contract here

There are three key steps involved in participating in the microFIT Program:

  1. Applicants will first need to obtain an offer to connect from their local distribution company before the OPA issues a microFIT conditional offer of contract.
  2.  Build and connect your project
  3. Accept your contract

What is Domestic Content Requirement

To ensure that you get the government rebate you must make sure that 60% content of your solar system installation is made in Ontario.The calculation of this is a bit complex and best left to installers,however if you are competent enough here are details of the domestic content requirement

Solar Rebate Pricing

For Solar PV Installations on the Roof you can get 80c/Kwh while for ground mounted solar plants you get 64c/Kwh.Note this is for solar panel installations under 10 kilowatt in size.You also have to first get the contract approved from the electricity distributor which might have a  long waiting list.

Read about the current pricing and rules here

Solar Panels Costs

Solar Panels cost for the cheapest solar panel manufacturers in around $1.10/watt and they retail for around $2/watt of residential customers.Because in Ontario you cannot freely buy any solar panel it might you cost much more.Please not solar panel prices have decreased by 30-40% in 2011.You should shop around to get a cheap deal from a decent quality Chinese solar panel brand.Because of the domestic content requirement you may have to pay $3/watt for your solar panel also.Note for utility large scale buyers of solar panel buyers,the cost is much lower.Solar Panels Costs have trended down quite in the last 3-4 years except in 2010 when they went up as solar panel demand increased by more than 150% .Solar Panel Costs are the biggest component of a Solar System Cost.The costs for Solar Panels  are lower for Thin Film Solar Panel for example First Solar Panels are much lower in cost but have lower Solar Panel Efficiency .Solar Panels in general cost between40-60% of the total system costs

Solar Inverter Costs

Solar Inverters cost around 50c/watt for small buyers of solar systems but can cost lower for large kilowatt inverter sizes and for scale buyers.Solar Inverters are a crucial component of a solar system and make up around 10% of the solar system costs.Here is a list of major solar inverter brands

Solar Panel Manufacturers in Ontario

Note with the Domestic Content Requirement it has become essential that the solar panel must be made in Ontario.Even if you get all the wiring and installation done in Ontario it won’t quality for domestic content because some of the silicon,wafers,cells or modules has to be made in the province.Since making solar panels is the easiest part,only solar panels are produced domestically in Ontario by most companies though some companies are making solar inverters in the province as well.

Major Solar Panel Manufacturers in Ontario

  1. Canadian Solar – Canadian Solar is the largest solar company in Canada with most of its manufacturing in China.The company not only produces silicon solar panels but also does solar integration work as well as develops solar farms. The Company sells a wide variety of solar panels unlike other producers.The Solar Panel Selling Price is also quite cheap.The Company is headquartered in Canada with factories in China and Ontario.Canadian Solar is the 5th biggest producer of Solar Panels in China.
  2. Flextronics, the leading Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider has managed to successfully leverage its Electronic Manufacturing  Expertise to become the top OEM choice for Solar Companies .Flextronics came into prominence as a premier solar outsourcing partner when German solar cell giant Q-Cells gave its Solar Module outsourcing contract to this company.The company has opened a solar panel producing plant in partnership with MEMC/Sunedision in Newmarket.
  3. Siliken is a Spanishcompany involved in  production of solar grade silicon and solar panels. Siliken has two module manufacturing plants, one silicon production plant and an inverter manufacturing plant in Spain. Siliken has module production plants in the US, Mexico, Canada and Romania
  4. Silfab has a one of the biggest solar panel operations in Ontario having started operations in 2010 and expanding it in 2011

Small Solar Panel Manufacturers in Ontario

  1. Lumin Solar has a  Ontario based manufacturing facility producing solar panels in the 240+ Watt size range.ocated in Thornhill, Ontario, Lumin Solar serves a wide breadth of industrial, commercial and residential customers throughout the local Ontario region, Canadian and Global markets.
  2. Opsun Panels Inc., a subsidiary of Opsun Technologies Inc., has  a 50-megawatt (MW) solar panel production line in the province. Opsun also  its SunRail mounting system and StructuralPV commercial solution in Ontario.
  3. SolGate, located in Ontario, Canada is at the forefront of science . We are proud to be the first large-scale solar panels manufacturer in the province of Ontario. Our 24,000 square foot manufacturing facility just north of Toronto boasts a current annual capacity of 20 MW of PV power production
  4. Magnum Pv will begin production of its high-efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in October 2011 at its 142,000-sq.-ft. facility in Brampton, Ontario. The company will make monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV modules in 245, 250, 290 and 300 watt models.
  5. Centennial Global Technology Inc. is a Canadian owned and operated, Ontario based solar panel or photovoltaic module manufacturer

How Many Solar Panels do You Need

Calculating how many Solar Panels you need is quite tricky as it depends on the Solar Panels Efficiency,Design of the Solar Array,the place where you live etc.

1) Solar Panels Efficiency – Some Solar Panels are more efficient.For example Solar Panels made by Sunpower and Sanyo are the most efficient which means they require less area.For space constrained homes,they are the best bet but they cost more per watt hour of electricity generated.Click on the heading of this paragraph to understand more aboutEfficiency.

2) Sun Light or Solar Insolation – This measures the amount of sun light that your solar panel installation recieves.Typical Solar Insolation is  around 1000-1500 watt hour per year.This means that if you install 1 watt of solar panels you will get 1-1.5 units of electricity per year.You should first calculate how much electricity you require per year.If you require around 7200 units a year you would need to install a 5 kilowatt or 5000 watts solar array.You can find out the solar insolation you receive from free websites like a) www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatt if you live in the USA and b)re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/countries/countries-europe.htm if you live in Europe.These websites also give you information about the solar insolation/radiation you live

3) Design of the Solar Array – This is very important in ensuring that you get the most power out of your solar panels.The design of the solar array should always be done by a good solar installer.Note this is a fragmented industry but you can find more about the big solar installers in the USA here.You should ensure basic stuff such that there is no shading of your solar panels,the roof does not leak,the materials used are good.Also having a good solar inverter is important.Nowadays you can get individual solar microinverters for each solar panel as well.Note almost 1-520% of the power generated by your solar panels is wasted in converting from DC to AC.

Also Read about how Solar Panels generate Electricity

More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Solar Power at Wikinvest
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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in or call me on +913340606492.

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