microFIT On Site Roof Top Solar Assessment

In our new series on determining if the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) microFIT was financial viable within our personal risk tolerance for our house’s roof, we detailed the OurPower online solar site assessment.

This solar site assessment indicated we could anticipate, under normal amount of sun light for the Greater Toronto Area, about a 9 year financial payback (i.e, about 9 years for us to receive sufficient revenue under the microFIT program to pay for the entire estimated solar installation on our roof) if we paid cash or about a 10 year financial payback if we financed 70% of t he investment up front at a 5% rate of interest.

These financial numbers were based on a 3.4 kilowatts size of solar system costing an estimated $25,313.

Knowing that OurPower solar assessments are conservative by nature, and we were sufficiently encouraged to contact one of OurPower’s long time solar installation vendors, Sun Volts Unlimited, for a free on site quote.

Rob Harding, the President of Sun Volts Unlimited spent a good hour and a half with me. We talked about the Ontario Power Authority’s microFIT program, he answered any questions I had, etc.

I like how he came with a laundry list of 13 references from past installations; full names, city, phone numbers and system size. I didn’t even have to ask.

He described the installation technique for the frame within which the solar panels would be installed. Rob indicated that while the frame comes with a covering to prevent water leakage into the attic, after they drill the holes in the trusses for the solar panel frame’s lug screws they insert sealant into the hole. As the frame’s screws are being inserted into the holes the sealant is effectively pushed out to act as another barrier to prevent rain or water from melting snow from entering.

I also liked how he has actually been installing solar systems for 20+ years rather than, for example, having been in the roofing business for over 20 years but just started installing microFIT solar system for the past year or so; a big, big difference.

Rob indicated that Sun Volts Unlimited currently uses 224 watt Sharp solar panels which come with the de facto industry standard 25 year warranty. This should provide a higher estimated annual output I would think compared to the Our Power online solar site assessment referred to above which assumes use of 200 watt solar panels.

south facing roof around mid morning microFIT On Site Roof Top Solar Assessment

After our discussion we went downstairs so he could see the location of our current electric panel. As the room containing the electric panel was completely finished, he indicated that they would be placing one of the hardward components (the inverter I believe) outside the house next to the electric meters rather than inside.

Then we went out into the back yard so he could see the roof. He also took measurements for the length of each of the three different south facing roof surfaces which you can see from the pictures in this article. The first one above was take at 9:45 am EDT.

Yes, that large thing on the wall over to the right is our Cansolair solar air heater we installed ourselves two years ago now. The picture below is of our same south facing roof at around 3:30 pm EDT for comparison of the shadows from the trees beyond our backyard fence.

south facing roof at mid afternoon microFIT On Site Roof Top Solar Assessment

I also was warming to Sun Volts Unlimited, albeit before receiving their quote, as they have several store locations and use their own employees for the installations. According to Rob, they do not sub-contract which I like from a quality control perspective.

So, now we wait. Rob indicated that we should receive his formal microFIT proposal for our home’s roof the following week.

You can read the details of the written quote we received from Rob by using this link were we examine Sun Volts Unlimited’s solar site proposal.

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Comments

  1. Jay says:

    Looking forward to seeing the next article in this series. I too am considering the installation of a Solar PV system. I am also considering Sun Volts as a potential installer. They performed a drive-by inspection as we were unable to meet up one-on-one, but hopefully I will be hearing from them shortly as well.

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Jay,

    I have not heard back from Sun Volts as of yet with answers to my second batch of follow-up questions.

    However, to be fair this is the season for holidays and even folks in the solar installation sector need to have time to play every once in a while. :)

    Dan

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