Category: Myths and Misconceptions

Company Longevity

Longevity

What do Microsoft, Apple, Colgate, Gillette, and Kleenex all have in common? No, this is not some joke or pun to start off this blog post, it’s an observation. All of these companies have been around for decades and earned our trust by creating quality products that we have learned to trust over time.

As the solar industry begins to gain interest from eco-conscious, money-wise consumers, an opportunity is being created in the industry. New solar panel installers are popping up across the country, with over 175 contractors appearing in Alberta in the past 5 years alone. The problem with this, is the lack of industry experience and potential for a lack in product / service quality. If a customer hires a poor-quality contractor, they may receive a sub-par or unfulfilled product or service. This then reflects negatively on the industry. Fly-by-night companies are sometimes found in ‘booms’ such as solar, taking advantage of a growing industry. These contractors may lack the experience required to provide the best quality services or may not be able to fulfill their promises. Sure, every now and then an “Apple” will come and challenge “Microsoft”, and they will earn their place in top, trusted companies who will then serve consumers for years to come. For the most part though, we tend to stick to our selected brands, based on reputation, established trust, and shared values.

To ensure you receive the top service and product quality, we recommend you check into company longevity when seeking a solar contractor to ensure it is reputable and credible. At Gridworks, we have been leading the solar industry in Alberta for 20 years, and hope to continue teaching, training, and setting the standards for quality services in the solar industry. We know that good work lasts and know your trust in us will last because of it. Find more tips on what to look for in a good contractor here!

For a solar quote, or to ask question, get in touch with us:

Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form

Gridworks

 

 

 

 

 

*Feature Image By Joan Sullivan – @CleanNergyPhoto

solar relax

Can Solar Power my Home?

MYTH: Solar can’t power my home

Without a huge solar PV system and battery bank – you are right. Grid-tied systems, however, don’t have to.

How a grid tied system works

In a grid tied system, you are not actually powering your own home. You are producing power to send to the electrical grid which is known as micro-generation. When you produce more electricity than you consume, your utility provider will credit you for the additional electricity through net-metering (see Section 8 of the Micro-Generation Regulation). You will still have a utility bill because the grid is still being operated. Your fees may include your distribution charge, transmission charge, local access fee and delivery charge. If you do not produce quite enough energy to cover the amount of electricity you consume, you will also need to pay the difference for electricity use.

Why this works

This means that no matter how much electricity your solar panels produce:

  1. You will have full electricity if the grid is operational (example of non-operational would be a local power outage)
  2. Your lights will not be ‘dimmed’
  3. You will have full power for your electric water heater, electric vehicle charging station, computers, TV’s, Microwave, and other electrical needs
  4. You will have electricity at night and in the middle of winter

Your panels are intended to off-set your carbon footprint, so while you still are using the electrical grid, you are ensuring that the amount of electricity you consume is being provided by clean energy sources.

What about in the winter when there is less light

Alberta winters provide an ideal setting for solar panels to produce electricity. There will be times through the year where your panels do produce more or less electricity based on amount of daylight hours, shadows, and temperature. The reason micro-generation works is because you are credited when your panels produce more electricity, which you can carry forward for 12 months. These credits can then be applied to your bill during the months where your panels produce less electricity than your household consumes. This essentially zero’s out your electricity costs, so all you have to worry about is the utility company fees.

 

Now that you are ready to save on your electricity bills, build equity in your home, and help protect the environment, give us a call for a free estimate!

Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form

Solar electricity

Why go Solar?

We all know that there are certain measures we can take to reduce our environmental impact. One of these is relying on clean energy for our own use. But hey, if saving the planet is not a good enough reason, we’ve got a few more for you to consider.

Reduce your own costs!

That’s right. Save money for your next vacation or for that new electric car ;). Yes, the installation of a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system has a fairly high upfront cost; it is one of the few major upgrades you can make in your home that provides an instant return. The minute your solar PV system is hooked up to the grid, you start to see your electricity bill go down. Additionally, we can help you apply for Government rebates to help offset the upfront expense. When we design your system, we will visit your home/business to assess your current and future energy needs to ensure your system will provide for you in years to come.

Earn a return

Now that you’ve reduced your costs, you may even see money back through your grid-tied system. How? If you produce more energy than you consume, the excess will be ‘sold’ back to the grid. So if you are on holidays and not home to use your energy, or if you continuously work on becoming more energy efficient, it is possible to get paid for your energy.

Invest in your own equity

Still not convinced? Installing a solar PV system is an investment in your current equity – your home. Homes are increasingly becoming more efficient, more sustainable, and more environmentally conscious. This is a reflection of consumer demand. If consumers are seeking energy saving, cost saving features, new homes will be built with these features. You have the ability to increase the value and appeal of your home by installing a desirable feature that will provide instant pay-back, and long-term return.  

Be the champion

That’s right, we went there. We dare you.

Make your neighbors talk. Cause a stir. Be the trend setter. Solar PV is becoming mandatory in other parts of the world, but despite Alberta’s perfect conditions for the technology, many are still unsure about this exciting technology. Being a first adopter in your neighborhood will be sure to get the conversation going, and you can be the home that starts the trend.

Want to get started? Get in touch for a free estimate!
Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090

Gridworks - Sharp png

 

alberta solar panel

MYTH: Alberta is not a good place for solar power

Alberta has one of the best solar resources in the world! In fact, within Canada, Alberta is one of the sunniest provinces, making it a great place to have solar panels!

How do we figure? Well here are the statistics:

Solar Energy Potential

Alberta’s annual usable solar energy is 26EJ. So what does that mean? To put it into perspective, oil and mining industries including coal, oil, and bitumen provide 12 EJ annually.

Sunshine in Alberta

Alberta has the second highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving more solar irradiation than any other province or territory other than Saskatchewan!

Based on the visible sunlight during daytime hours, Alberta and Saskatchewan share the highest percentage of sunny days 50% of days are sunny in Alberta. On average, other Canadian provinces see about 45% of sunny daytime hours. 

That’s about 320 days of sunlight, compared to other provinces average of 300 days.

Calgary tops the list for most sunshine hours with 2,396 hours of sunlight per year. Following Calgary is Winnipeg, then Edmonton with 2,345 hours of sunlight. Even though solar panels work even when it is overcast and raining or when covered in snow, this much sunshine provides a great amount of energy for solar panels to convert to electricity.

Germany is a current leader in solar energy, despite the fact that Alberta has a greater energy potential.

Edmonton Solar energy potential Berlin Solar Energy potential

What about in the cold?

Solar panels use the light to make electricity, not heat, so your panels will work perfectly fine in the cold.

In fact, they will work better. While there is a significant amount of science behind it, basically it comes down to the force and amount of the electrons. When it is really cold the amount of Volts, or force, increases. Imagine a garden hose that needs pressure to move water through it. The voltage is how much pressure you have to move an electrical current. When it is cold, the current, or amount of electricity that fits in your hose, decreases.

The material used on solar panels are semi-conductors, which means that they will become hot when there is a large current because of resistance.

Conclusion: When there is more force and less to push, there is less resistance, which means the panels are working better.

solar panel infographic

What about the snow?

First off, solar panels often created heat, which melts the snow and enables the snow to slip off. 

Even when the snow does not fall off, the panels are still producing electricity from the light that shines through it. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) conducted an extensive study which verifies this conclusion, and is available here.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, why not get a free quote for your solar panels so they can start working for you now!

Give us a call or submit this form for your free estimate!
Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090

Gridworks Energy Solar Panels

 

Edmonton Solar Array

Avoiding Roof Damage from Solar Installation

Attic and ceiling damage, mold, high utility bills and wasted energy, or worst case: fire or flood. These are just some of the consequences of a leak in your roof. No homeowner or builder wants to walk in the door one day and see signs of leaks. Quite frankly, neither do their home builders or roofers.

Leak problems are not common when a roof is first installed, but become a concern when unqualified contractors penetrate the roof to add equipment to it. If not done with care, unqualified contractors can cause damage to the roof, the shingles, or the waterproofing. Therefore, it is critical to ensure your contractor is fully qualified to install your Solar PV System.

The primary concerns of qualified contractors are:

  • Safety,
  • Waterproofing and
  • Preserving the integrity and service life of the roof.

Industry standard best practices (or higher) need to be used when installing anything on a roof. These best practices include roof design, equipment being installed, and items penetrating the roof. Equipment, such as a Solar PV System can be installed on a rooftop without jeopardizing the waterproofing or life of the roof. Make sure you are hiring a reputable, qualified contractor to install the PV system to prevent damage.

How It Works

A 7/32” hole is drilled once the roof structure has been located. The hole is not drilled through the roof member so as to prevent a full penetration. This pilot hole is then filled with roofing sealant.

A 3″ lag is installed. Then, the lag is tightened so that the EPDM washer is compressed ensuring a watertight seal.

Next, we make sure nothing will impede flashings. Using a shingle bar, the shingles are gently lifted to check for nails. The flashings are also then dry-fitted to ensure proper fit, and ensure that there are no obstructions.

By using a 100% watertight flashing system, PV system installation can be done without causing damage to a roof. Roof sealant is applied to the underside of the flashing to provide a watertight seal and encourage drainage. 

The flashing kit is installed with “L Bracket” and is ready for the racking. Finally sealed and waterproofed, this installation prevents both water leaks and un-necessary damage to the roof. This prevents costly insurance claims and damage to roofer or electrical contractor reputation. With solar panels correctly installed, the customer is able to become energy efficient without worrying about the integrity of their roof!

Who to Contract

We expect that our Solar PV systems will last so long, we recommend having fairly new shingles so that you don’t need to worry about your roof for years to come. Have old shingles? If so, consider having new ones installed. If you’re seeking a roofing expert, we are proud to partner with, and recommend LoDan Exteriors. With our Solar PV Systems and LoDan Exteriors roofing, you will have an energy efficient rooftop that will last for decades.

Looking for a qualified contractor to install a PV system on your roof, or a customer’s roof? We believe in above-and-beyond customer service. Because of this, we only have journeyman electricians who have completed our CSA approved PV design and installation course to complete these installations, and each one is treated with utmost care and attention to detail.

Connect with us to learn more!

Gridworks Energy Group: (587) 405-9090
Click here for a Solar PV System Free Estimate

LoDan Exteriors: (780) 288-2290
Click here for the LoDan Exteriors Website