Here are the recommended steps for net-metering!
- Have a site analysis done to determine feasibility, type, size of system, approximate cost and return on investment. We recommend this be done by someone who is not part of a sales driven installation company, so the advice as to proceed or not is impartial. We can also consider types of systems that a specific company may not familiar with, that would be best for your site. If you don't have an in dependant site assessment done in advance, installation companies will send someone to do an assessment before they will give you a quote. They typically charge you for the site assessment or if free, build it into the system price.
- If our site assessment indicates your site is suitable, then determine the optimum size in kW for your project:
- Obtain the last 3 years of annual electricity consumption from your hydro bills or by calling your utility and obtaining this from their records.
- Multiply this value by 25% to allow for the drop in production over the next 25 years. (After 25 years the panels will output at least 80% of their day one output.)
- Using the recommended mounting orientation, and shading at your site, and the productivity rating of 1 kW of panels in your location, determine the kW rating of the panels to generate the required amount in one year. (if there is any shading, you will need the results of our shading analysis to do this calculation. If there is no shade, then this can be done with the use of the PVwatts tool available online.)
- Apply to the local distribution company for a connection to the grid. This will confirm that they are able to connect you to the grid. Your calculations in the previous step will permit you to fill in the form with the actual capacity that you need. This should not exceed 10 kW.
- Wait until you get a response from the local hydro company before proceeding.
- We deliver a site assessment document to you in electronic format that you can send to several sales and installation companies, and they can use this information to provide quotations for the type of system that you require. Each company will be quoting an an identical requirement.
- If you wish, we can provide you a complete turnkey system, we don't do the installation ourselves but subcontract to a company specializing in installations.
- Obtain some quotes for the recommended type and size of system
- Select the best quote and then do a financial analysis of the project. If you provide us the contact cost, we can re-run the financial analysis and supply an updated set of numbers for that price.
- Decide if you wish to proceed.
- Talk to the local distribution company, (Hydro One, Ottawa Hydro, etc) and discuss their requirements.
- You can safely invest in the purchase of your system knowing the cost and with permission to connect to the grid.
- Accept a contract with an installation company for you system. They will obtain the necessary permits, on your behalf. They may also refund you the cost of the site analysis, since this is normally built into the price.
- The contractor installs the system and wires it to the existing breaker panel
- The contractor arranges for the ESA to inspect the work, and authorize it as ready for connection to the grid
- You inform the local distribution company that you wish to be connected to the grid and pay the fees
- Your installation company arranges for the power to be shut off, and then installs a disconnect switch near the meter.
- The ESA inspector arrives and inspects the disconnect switch and authorizes a re-connection to the grid.
- The local distribution company arrives and installs a replacement bi-directional meter and hooks you back up to the grid.
For most people, a turnkey installation is the best approach. We can provide consulting services assist you in reviewing the estimates, and selecting the best one for your site. We can also help you with applying to your local hydro. The sales and installation company does all the rest. You need to focus on picking the right type of system, and a solid company to do the installation.
If you would like to do some or all the work yourself, then click here for a DIY approach to save a lot of money.