Have you ever considered adding solar to your home or cottage but have no idea how much it may cost? Well, we are here to help solve that mystery. Of course, each application is different, but we will help address all the factors that may impact your future solar project.
When you add a solar panel system to your roof, you are adding what is called a Net Metering System – a system that “re-winds” your hydro meter against your electricity use. It is a great way to help offset your hydro costs with a reasonable ROI. Most homes under 3000 square feet, with average annual electricity consumption, would need somewhere between a 10-12 kilowatt system. But, let’s start with the different factors that affect the price of your solar system so that you can understand the whole picture:
The size of your net metering system is based on the electricity load of your home or cottage. Your electricity load is how much electricity you use based on the different appliances, heating and cooling systems, and so on that you power. For instance, someone who has highly efficient home equipment like washer/dryers, dishwashers, furnaces etc., will have a much lower electrical load than someone who does not. Someone who uses their dryer for an hour each night vs someone who hang-dries their clothing will use more electricity. If you are interested in understanding how large your home electrical load is, you can try out this handy calculator.
The roof style also affects the design and cost of your solar project. Is your roof a steep pitch, has multiple planes or is it a hip-style roof with only small areas available for solar panels?
These items and more can affect how many solar panels you can add, how the solar panel design may have to use different configurations, and how difficult the installation will be e.g. super high and steep roofs may require a lift.
Sun and Shade
This does seem like it may be an obvious one, but have you thought about how much sun your roof gets or if your optimal roof space is southern facing? Do you have large trees that provide shade or partial shade to your future solar panels? This does not mean that you cannot integrate a solar system; however, it may require the use of solar optimizers to help enhance solar production during full bloom months.
Where Your Power Comes From
Regardless of having the perfect roof for maximum production, your local electricity distributor(LDC) must approve your application, which sometimes comes with a cost. They must have grid and transformer capacity for your solar net metering system. In some cases, usually for commercial-sized systems, your LDC will require a transformer upgrade that becomes costly.
The Cost of Solar Panels
Of course, there is the equipment itself. While the cost of solar used to be relatively high, past incentives helped ease these project costs, especially with the gains made once installed.
A few years ago, the cost of solar reached an all-time low. With market volatility and supply chain issues experienced by many since the pandemic, solar equipment pricing fluctuates monthly by small varying degrees.
You also have choices for your solar panel equipment that will impact the system price. Some choices include panel aesthetics such as blue or black panels, technical choices like inverter and optimizers, and premium or lessor recognized brands in Ontario.
The current Greener Homes Grant. available in Ontario helps you offset the solar project cost by $5000 for qualifying homeowners and the return on investment you will realize when your hydro bills become credited monthly. AND – Finally, the long-awaited $5k to $40k, 10-year interest-free loan program through CMHC/Greener Homes(NRCAN) is finally open for supporting your energy project. You can learn more about the loan program here.
The Cost of Building Your Solar System in Ontario
There are three significant roles in designing, building and connecting your net metering system.
- Administration of your solar project includes all communication and application processes with your LDC, engineering, procurement, construction draw billing, warranties, and commissioning.
- Designing your solar system includes both design and layout of panels, racking and inverters, and the complete electrical design.
- The building of your solar system includes installing solar and electrical equipment – panels, racking, inverters, cabling, and meters. It may also include transformer and panel upgrades, cable trenching, etc. Depending on who you decide to work with, these steps may be completed by one, two or three parties.
Ok, you understand the factors, so how much will a solar PV net metering system cost for my house or cottage?
Considering all of these factors, we will use the following to provide a comparative and relative example for a home or cottage in Ontario installing a solar net metering system on their roof.
- A home size of 1,800-2,200 square feet,
- with an average pitch, 6/12 roof, or 35-degree slope or less,
- and little undesignable areas such as dormers, turrets etc.,
- with average annual household hydro consumption of between 8,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 12,500 kWh,
- and minimal roof shading
- requiring no major electrical upgrades.
You would be looking at a standard, 10kW net-metering solar system, black aesthetic panels, with an annual production of between 11,000 kWh to 15,000 kWh of electricity per year. The cost of this system in today’s market is between $26,000 and $36,000 Canadian Dollars.