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17 Comments
  1. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Thanks! :)

    Our panels are titled around 30 degrees, which is a very good angle for our latitude, in terms of maximizing production on an annual basis, because it favours spring/summer production when there is the most sunlight.

  2. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Thanks! :)

    MicroFIT is for 10kW systems and under. How much power you could generate depends on lots of things. See How much power can our system produce? and How much money do you make? for more details.

    If you’re considering a system, you need to check out the official FIT/MicroFIT website for all the latest actual info. Good luck!

  3. John permalink

    Wow! Actual data! I’ve spent many hours looking for actual data showing how much electricity solar panels produce in the real world. Thank you!

    Correct me if I’m wrong. It appears your average “multiplier” is around 3.3. By that I mean with all else being equal (and of course it never is), a person could expect to get around 330 watts/day from a 100 watt panel at your latitude and installed with the same degree of tilt to the sun as you have. Are your panels tilted at near the ideal amount?

    Again, thank you.

  4. Chris permalink

    How much of an installation can fit under MicroFIT versus FIT? We are pondering a rural property, and with a 2 acre open field, a solar farm is a possibility.

    Since our plan would be to retire to the property in about 20 years, the idea of having it passively generate income in the interim is appealing. Is there a per-square-foot calculator someplace that gives a feel for how large you can go before hitting the program limits?

    Thanks for your site – great job compiling a lot of information!

  5. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    I have not heard of any damage to panels due to the ice storm. Ours appear to be working normally. Now that the sun is back towards its peak position for the year, we are seeing similar maximum output on certain days to what we have seen in previous years.

    Solar panels are manufactured with well sealed casings and hardened glass faces, to withstand hail and other typical weather events. The ice storm just piled a lot of ice on things, but didn’t hit with force, so damage from the weather event itself would be unlikely. Severe hail would be the thing to fear the most.

    The added weight of the ice could potentially damage power lines or other things that would be weighed down by it. However in a system that is flush-mounted to the roof, there isn’t really anything that is susceptible to crushing failures like that. The worst would be if for some reason you had a line strung out in open air between your roof and the inverter. In our case, the line goes down the back of the house, so it’s not an issue.

    –Julian

  6. Sam permalink

    Wondering about any horror stories or even good stories regarding damage or no damage due to the ice storm this winter to solar panels ?

  7. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Hello Maria,

    All the math on what you can expect to earn is on this page of the site: http://www.yourturn.ca/solar/microfit/how-much-money-do-you-make/

    The amount you make depends on the size of your system.

    I don’t see why anyone would make a special financing arrangement with the installer, instead of just getting financing themselves through a personal line of credit or something like that. Why interfere with your own flexibility of how you handle the money?

    Another factor, and maybe this is why they’re suggesting financing through the installer…the amount you’re paid by microFIT is not uniform throughout the year, due to the seasons. So you have to be able to save extra income in the summer to pay the financing cost in the winter, assuming your financing costs are uniform throughout the year. But maybe the installer is building that into the deal in this case. No need to worry about averaging things yourself. They’ll just take a cut off the top.

    Maybe that’s a convenience for some people, but still, I wouldn’t consider it worth muddying the waters.

    At the end of the day, the real issue with any financing arrangement is the interest rate. That’s almost the only thing that counts.

    –Julian

  8. Maria permalink

    Good afternoon,

    Thank you for setting up this informative website.

    I am hoping to get an insight for an Ontario based solar installation company that specialize in working with MicroFIT installations.

    This company offers their clients a way to use their solar energy to pay off the installation over the 20 year term. They conclude that a homeowner would earn between $400 to $1,000 per month. The kw rate is locked in for the term and will not alternate. Before you see your monthly deposit, a percentage is withdrawn to pay the investment. A partner bank offers financing at a low interest rate or find a lower rate from another source.

    Do you know homeowners that are enjoying this rate of return in Ontario? Thank you.

  9. Great website! thank you for sharing your expirience , and thanks for help the PV systems begin to come online in Portugal .

  10. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Our insurance has always been through Meloche Monnex since before we installed the array. They had no problem with it. I have heard of people in your situation though, as described on the page of the site about insurance. I believe that the Green Energy Act was in part supposed to clarify this whole situation, and make it possible to generate power at your house, without it turning your house into a commercial building, for example. So there are rules in the Green Energy Act about zoning, I think, and other related things. I expect Allstate is simply misinformed about all this, and doesn’t understand microFIT. It may be an issue that your local MPP could help with, if in fact the Green Energy Act is supposed to make this kind of discrimination impossible. But really, who wants to fight with their insurance company. Just inform them that you’re taking your house and life and auto insurance business elsewhere to a company that is less ignorant.

    –Julian

  11. Ina permalink

    We just applied for the Ontario MicroFIT program. I phoned our Allstate Agent to let them know about the Solar panels which will be installed to see if the insurance premium would increase or not. I was very, very surprised when they told me that Allstate does NOT insure your house if you are in the MicroFIT program! Did you have problems with getting House Insurance because of the solar panels on your roof?

  12. Peter Sommerfeld permalink

    Thanks for all the detailed info!

    Just got my 10 KW system installed (44 x 235W Canadian Solar, 44 Enphase micro-inverters, with web monitoring). I managed to get an extension under the OPA.

    Just had a quick look at your site, I will definitely dig in deep.

    Thanks for your time!

    Peter

  13. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Update…you can now create graphs from your own Xantrex GT inverter logs (from SG-View or GT-View). Just follow the “Graph logs from your own system” links at the top of every page.

    Let me know how it goes!

    –Julian

  14. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Thanks for the comments. :-) The monitoring program I use is SG-View, which is available at the Solar Guppy forums. You can find the link in the Links section of this site. I have a computer running all the time recording logs using SG-View, and those are sent to the website and processed, usually once a day, to create the graphs and update the other data. The processing is done by some custom PHP scripts I wrote, and the graphs are based on the open source pChart library. Details are on the How did you make this website page. The pChart example scripts on their website are probably the best starting place for graphing. As for parsing the data…well that really depends on what you want to capture and monitor and how you’re logging the data too. So it’s highly custom.

    I may polish some things up into general examples some time later, there’s no plans for that at the moment though. It would take some work to rejig them into something of general use and interest. I’m more interested in graphing consumption information since a little while ago I got access to our consumption data through Toronto Hydro. I also want to put a year summary graph online too.

    –Julian

  15. Ron Bell permalink

    Great looking website! And some nice numbers as well. Just got our microFIT online on the 18th – finally! This is precisely what I’m looking for to monitor our system – 54 Sanyo 210w panels connected to 2 Xantrex GT 5.0 invereters. I have yet to dive into my own website but this might be the push I needed. I also have never done any programming, but from what I’ve seen on the Wordpress site, I should be able to muddle through. Are the finished monitoring programs used on your site available for download? Thanks, and have a great holiday season. Play safe / rb

  16. Julian Egelstaff permalink

    Thanks! :-) The orientation was due to the shape of our roof, that’s how they would fit in the narrow space (it’s a townhouse). The software for capturing the stats is free software available for Xantrex inverters. I have a computer in the basement connected to the inverter and the internet, and it sends the details to the website. The graphs are done in PHP using freely available code libraries. Full details are on the How did you make this website? page. A shout out to people in the industry involved in such things…I would be interested in developing some nice, turnkey monitoring systems if anyone would like to collaborate on that, if there’s a business case. I think a lot of the monitoring software about there is hard to read and understand.

    –Julian

  17. Great Web site Julian!
    I see the modules were installed in landscape orientation. That’s unusual (requires straight trusses for one). Looking good though. What software are you using for the live production updates?

    Many happy kilo-Watt-hours!

    -Rob-

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