Who installed it, how did we choose that company?
Our solar array was built by Sun Volts Unlimited in July 2009. It took three days. We have pictures.
Sun Volts supplied all the materials and components, and a crew of two performed all the labour. Sun Volts also arranged for all building permits, inspections, etc. Basically, when they were done their work, we had an array that was ready to go, as soon as we could connect it to the public power grid.
We chose Sun Volts because they were the recommended vendor chosen by RISE Again, a solar power community group in the Riverdale area of Toronto, near where we live. RISE has since become part of Our Power, a Toronto-based solar power advocacy and facilitation group.
Sun Volts was the oldest company in Ontario doing this kind of work, having been founded by Rob Harding in 1987. Mr. Harding is a past president and past vice president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association.
In the summer of 2011, Sun Volts went out of business. I have not learned exactly what happened, but I have heard from former staff and customers through this website. From what they have told me, it seems that Mr. Harding simply decided to close the business, though it is unclear why. One customer reported, and other sources on the web confirm, that the Owen Sound franchise went out of business first, and there may have been a ripple effect.
Why did the Owen Sound location go bankrupt? My pure conjecture is that since the solar power business is extremely capital intensive, maybe they ran out of cash? Between Hydro One being very picky about which sites they will actually connect to the grid, and the political uncertainty about microFIT leading up the 2011 Ontario election, maybe many installations were cancelled after equipment had been ordered? But these are only guesses on my part. If anyone knows what really happened, please drop me a line. Thanks.
On November 29, 2013, the array stopped working. So I had to find someone to come and service it in the absence of Sun Volts. Some research online led me to Solsmart Energy Solutions Inc. They sent a technician over who was very courteous and knowledgeable, and able to diagnose the problem very quickly. It turned out that a fuse in a switch had blown. The hard part was tracking down the right kind of replacement fuses, but Solsmart was able to do that and a little over a month after the array turned off, the new fuses were in place and the array turned back on again. I was very pleased with the service and people Solsmart provided and plan on calling them again if there’s ever another problem.