Tag: Solar

2018 Edmonton Fall Home Show

Fall is in the air!

We’re getting excited about the turning of the seasons, waking up to a crispness in the air, watching the brightly coloured leaves fall, and picking the last of our gardens. This fall, we are very excited to be attending the Edmonton Fall Home Show from October 26 – 28 at Booth #816. We are eager to see the fantastic landscaping, designs, décor, and treats at the show, as well as see the great line-up of industry professionals (and celebrities!).

We encourage you to come down and say hello. We will be more than happy to answer any of your questions, and just connect at this fantastic event! If you’re worried about the price, you and save $3 by getting your tickets online through our website as well!

Leading up to the event and during the event day, we will be using #FallforSolar to share what is happening, so be sure to follow-along! Also, if you want to reach out, or share a picture with us, please use the hashtag to connect! We are looking forward to seeing you this fall!

Get 2-for-1 tickets with promo ZIBBY: https://bit.ly/2RnBNDy

Coolest solar uses

Top 10 Coolest Uses of Solar Energy 2018

While we love installing solar panels, we also love seeing the new and innovative ways others are using them! Check out some of our favourite ways solar is being put to work!

1. Solar Device Charging

From solar powered bobble heads, to solar powered battery packs, solar is a convenient way to keep charged on the go. While individuals can purchase their own personal solar powered chargers, the City of Edmonton, among other cities, also has public solar powered chargers! Want to see for yourself? Head down to the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and see if you can find them!

2. Solar Powered Cars

Solar powered cars are catching our hearts and minds! We have been predicting when cars will become solar powered for generations, in drawings of silver and glass cities and hover-cars… Now, even public centres such as the Londonderry Shopping Mall in North Edmonton are prepared! They have solar covered car ports and electric vehicle charging available for the wave of the future. Love or Hate Elon Musk, we give a mass shout-out for the surge of this technological development. Interested in your own garage charging station? Ask us!

3. Rural Development

While we are lucky enough to have energy from a grid, not all places are so lucky. Solar is providing power not only to homes and businesses in countries where electrical grids are less / un-developed, but to medical centres and schools as well. Solar energy is stored in batteries and is providing energy for rural and under-developed areas that may not otherwise access it! Among the numerous places, this solar powered shipping container is providing medical relief in Haiti.

4. Solar Military

To reduce dependence on Fossil fuels, and provide energy in any location, no matter how remote, the U.S. Military uses solar to power operations. This flexible, sheet-like solar set-up provides the flexibility, and energy needed to power operations. How great would this be for camping?

5. Solar NASA

Not impressed enough by the military’s use of solar? NASA also has been experimenting and relying on solar for years. They have investigated the use of solar in a variety of forms, but the power of solar is most popular for use in Satellites. Read more on our Solar Powered Star Wars post!

6. Mass Solar Scalability

We sometimes hear that solar is not scalable, it can not sufficiently power places or things that we love. This solar powered stadium in Taiwan illustrate not only the practical use of solar on a large scale, but also the beauty of solar in architecture. While we haven’t designed a system to look like dragon scales on a stadium (yet…) we have done some pretty cool projects too. Check them out here!

7. Clean Drinking Water

As if solar was not already attractive because of its contribution to sustainability by providing a cleaner energy source, solar can now produce water out of thin air. While these devices by Fontus create water by pulling water out of the air (powered by solar), we are imagining it’s functionality being expanded to provide clean drinking water for all!

8. Solar Lights

These every-day use of solar cells make our list for exactly that reason – they are practical for homes to use every day. Whether used for lighting up your stairs or adding a little shine to your beautiful garden at night, this has been the easiest way for people to become acquainted with solar. It eliminates the need for all those unsightly cords and enables homeowners to increase the light around their home, without increasing their electricity bills! (Tip: Remove the batteries during winter months to protect the batteries, while the solar cells would continue to function, the batteries used in these devices are not intended for our cold Canadian winters)

9. Solar Camping

Solar powered camping tentSeveral products exist to make camping easier with solar energy. Our first tent had a solar powered light in it, adding a bit of creature-comfort in our wilderness habitat. You can also get solar powered flashlights, power-packs mentioned above, or backpacks. So, you can keep playing your music while taking that hike, play candy crush while canoeing, and find your way to the tent after the fire goes out!

10.   Solar Powered Communities

solar edmontonOf course, our favourite are the solar powered homes, community leagues, company buildings, and indigenous community centres that have adopted solar. These places have gone above ‘standard’ and are reducing their environmental impact while saving money. Call us to learn more about getting solar panels of your own!

CHFC

City of Edmonton Solar Rebate

For this week’s blog we wanted to give a shout-out to the City of Edmonton Change Homes for Climate Solar Program. Essentially, the program offers Edmontonians an additional municipal rebate to help reduce the costs of going solar. By combining municipal and provincial solar rebates, you can save up to 30% of the cost of your solar system! For more information on the rebates, you can visit: changeforclimate.ca/solar and watch the fantastic video below!

And if this sounds like a bit of a pitch – you’re right, it is. We are so excited to see these incentives come to our city and help our fellow Edmontonians save money up-front, and in the long-term. Have you taken advantage of this program yet? Do you have solar? Tell us about your solar on Facebook or Twitter! Use the hashtag #changeforclimate to follow the conversation.

Want to chat more with us about how to save money through solar and solar rebates?

Give us a call!

Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form

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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

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*Feature Image By Joan Sullivan – @CleanNergyPhoto

global solar

Solar – A Global Observation

Consumed by local solar events, it is easy to forget how global industry trends can also affect us. The US tariffs on the solar industry, for example, are a powerful reminder of the global economy and how closely tied we really are. With so much going on in the world of solar, we decided to explore a bit outside of our local industry, to understand what impacts the rest of the world might make.

USA

Two major events have occurred in the United States this year which have seen a ripple effect in the solar industry worldwide. No. 1 was California’s mandate to install solar on all new homes. No. 2 was the Tariffs imposed by the federal government.

Sunny California Goes Green

California committed fully to going green this year by mandating all new homes be built with solar panels starting 2020. While some argue that this command and control technique is not the best way to reduce carbon emissions (for any number of reasons), others think this will encourage the future development of the state commit to sustainability in architecture. Regardless of what side you are on, it means that homes will continue being built, and will require solar panels. Some homebuilders may consider pre-building and permitting homes to avoid meeting these new regulations, but homes will still be built beyond 2020. This will lead to an increase in solar module demand, and may increase the price of solar modules.

Trump’s Tariffs

The US solar industry has seen not one, but two sets of Tariffs to solar. The first was a 30% tariff on all solar cell and modules implemented in January 2018. Most recently, an additional 25% tariff has been imposed on imported products from China, including solar cells and modules. While it may be too soon to understand the full implications of these, two subsequent events have occurred. Following the initial imposition of 30% tariffs, $2.5 billion was lost in cancelled projects, not to mention the loss of jobs across the country. The second event that occurred was the increase in US based manufacturing plants. Some of these manufacturers are US based companies taking advantage of a higher barrier of entry to foreign firms; others are foreign firms seeking to circumvent the tariffs imposed.

Despite the increase in domestic manufacturing, the cost of foreign goods with high tariffs or the cost of domestically produced materials may have some influence on the price of solar in the US.

China

China continues to build solar cells and modules, in both China and the US. Recent Chinese government decisions to cut funding for solar could actually boost global panel production. Solar panels built in China are expected to see a significant fall in prices due to high manufacturing for current demand, but will likely not let up once domestic demand falls.

India

As India proposes to implement a 25% safeguard duty on solar panels from China, local solar companies are stockpiling solar panels from China. This stockpiling also contributes to an increased current demand for the Chinese solar panels.

Canada

So what does this all mean for us here in Canada? The US Tariff has already created reduced international solar cell and module demand, but has also increased local producers. China is currently encountering a high demand for solar cells and modules and has ramped up domestic and international production to keep up with the demand. These measures all create an increase in production and supply of solar panels. Furthermore, while the US pays more for imports and domestic products, Canadian solar installers can look forward to reduced prices due to the supply of modules and lack of tariffs.

 

Have other thoughts on global solar? Drop us a line! 

Gridworks

587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form

 

 

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how long do solar panels last

How Long do Solar Panels Last?

How long will solar panels last?

When deciding whether or not to buy and install solar panels, cost is a major factor. You want to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. A major part of that is the durability and reliability of your solar panels. Why would you spend $10,000 – $20,000 on something that will only last 5 – 10 years? We decided to answer some frequently asked questions about durability, reliability, and solar panel life span.

Solar panels are made of glass, so will they break?

The short answer is that they can, but that they shouldn’t.

The solar cells themselves are very fragile, but they are protected by a thick layer of glass and a durable frame. Solar panels are designed and tested to withstand even the most extreme conditions, from freezing rain to golf ball sized hail at 80 km/hour. Our rule of thumb is: If it will damage or break your roof, it may damage or break your panels. If you are expecting that kind of damage, however, you may have bigger problems than the durability of your solar panels.

What kind of testing is done on solar panels?

Manufacturers test their panels quite extensively to ensure they are durable and reliable. Solar panels can go through a variety of tests including being placed in a humidity chamber, Thermal stress tests, UV stress tests, pressure tests and force tests (being hit with objects). These tests are used to ensure the panels do not yellow, crack, break, or have mechanical or electrical malfunctions.

When purchasing solar panels as a part of a full installation, your installer should recommend the best solar panels for your climate and conditions. This is one of the reasons it is so important to find a qualified contractor, to ensure their analysis and recommendations are sound and will provide you with the results you expect. Word of mouth is our primary way of obtaining business, so if you are not satisfied, we know you won’t recommend us. This is why it is so critical for us to make sure you get the most durable, and reliable solar panels possible.

Do solar panels malfunction?

They can. Although it is not common, a panel could have an issue that could prevent it from producing electricity. You can monitor the production of each panel or on the entire system by getting a monitoring system. Before getting solar panels, be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s warranty in the event that one of your panels does malfunction. You might also consider purchasing a spare panel you can keep in case one of the panels does malfunction or loses production. While you may still be covered by your warranty, this will allow you to replace the panel right away while you wait for a resolution (such as the shipment of a new panel).

Solar panel lifespan

Solar panels do degrade over time. With technological improvements continually slowing the process of solar panels degrading, solar panels produced today degrade far slower than those even 10 years ago, at approximately .5% a year for a monocrystalline silicon panel (commonly used in residential installations).  “That means that a panel manufactured today should produce 92% of its original power after 20 years”.

Extra Protection

Make sure your solar panels AND the installation (labour) is warrantied, either by the solar panel manufacturer and / or by your solar contractor. Don’t forget to also call your insurance provider to see if your solar panels are covered by your home insurance.

Have any other questions about solar panel longevity? Call or email us to get your questions answered!

 

Gridworks Energy

587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form

Solar panel company

 

solar cost

Solar Panel Costs

Solar energy is an attractive option for many homeowners and business owners. The idea of reducing electricity bills, supporting sustainable practices, and increasing home equity are just a few of the great features of going solar. But how much does it cost?

We get it. We don’t like spending more money than we must either. But there has never been a more financially supportive time in Alberta’s history – to go solar. So let’s help break down the numbers, and see how affordable solar is.

What does a solar panel cost?

This can differ depending on solar panel size and type. These factors will depend on how much electricity you use, and your site. A quick search will show individual panels can cost anywhere between $50.00 for a small panel, to $300.00 for a large one. Because of this, it’s better to estimate the cost based on the size of the solar PV system.
Although solar PV system costs also can vary quite dramatically, they usually range from $10,000 to $25,000. To get a rough quote for yourself, fill out our free estimate form and we can get back to you. For the most accurate estimate, talk to us about a free site assessment!

How much does maintenance cost?

Solar panels are actually very low maintenance. Once they are installed, just let them do their job! If they become heavily covered in dust or debris, you can contract someone to clean them off which does not cost very much. We don’t recommend cleaning them yourself for safety reasons. You can contact your solar contractor for help finding someone to clean the panels. If they don’t do it themselves, they should be able to recommend someone.
The panels themselves are very durable and should last for decades. If something does go wrong with one of them, warranty may cover the cost of replacement, otherwise it may need to be replaced.

How much will my electricity bill go down?

This depends on the size of your array. While your electricity costs can be brought down incredibly low, possibly even to zero, you will still have to pay fees for services such as distribution by your utility provider.

How long will it take my investment to pay off?

Again, this depends on the size of your solar array and your electricity usage habits. Anywhere from 10 – 20 years is common but could be shorter or longer depending on your electricity consumption and solar array size. During this time however, you are paying off equity you have invested in your home, instead of paying for the electricity itself!

How can I afford solar panels?

There are several different ways to afford solar panels. First off, you will need the initial investment. Once the solar panels are installed and operational, there are several types of rebates available.

Savings, Friends, and Family

Usually one of the first places people go to for financing any home investment is their own savings, or small contributions from friends and family.

Financing

Lot’s of financing options are available for funding solar panels installations. We even have our own financing! Take a further look into financing here.

Loans / Line of credit

Loans and lines of credit are like financing and can be obtained from most financial institutions. Talk to your bank for loan / line of credit options and interest rates.

Gofundme

Solar is great! If you are social savvy, why not make a case for going green? You might be surprised how many people will support your efforts in establishing a sustainable lifestyle.

Rebates and Incentives

This is what you’ve been waiting for. Alberta has been slow in supporting renewable energy transition but is making up for it. Both Alberta and Municipal rebates now exist, and we can even help you find out which is the best option for you. Take a look at our incentives and rebates page here.

Want more help?

Give us a call or send us an email to find out more! We can go through the entire process with you, do a site and cost estimate, and go through funding options with you. Give us a call or send us an email to get started.

Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090
info@gridworksenergy.com

Solar panel company

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 League

Edmonton Community Leagues Going Solar

Building a green community for future generations to enjoy

Edmonton’s Westmount Community League is the latest in the leagues to invest in the future of their community, and environment. Proven leaders in community revitalization, Westmount continues to reduce their environmental impact and commit to sustainable practices. The league is part of a growing number of city ‘Green Leagues’. Westmount continues to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by installing a solar PV system. The solar array will help off-set electricity costs, cutting approximately $1,600 per year. Furthermore, this will help the league continue to reduce their carbon footprint.

We are proud to be installing the 16.25 KW Photovoltaic (PV) System on the roof of the community league building. The community building will hold an array consisting of 50 modules. These modules will produce anywhere from 16,000kWh to 18,000kWh of electricity. Reducing electricity bills and carbon footprint is not only good for the league right now, but will have a lasting effect by providing a sustainable future for the community.

The Bigger Picture

In addition to the solar PV system, Westmount community league also provides a community garden and has taken measures to improve their energy efficiency. As community leagues across Edmonton continue to adopt sustainable initiatives like these, they are not only affecting their own buildings and organizations. Additionally, they are opening up conversations for conservation, and sustainability. By making these changes and leading sustainability initiatives, community leagues are encouraging their residents to consider their own environmental footprints. Community members have the opportunity to see what these initiatives can look like. More importantly, is individuals can identify how beneficial these upgrades are, and ways they can follow this lead. We can all make changes to support our future, and protect our planet.

We hope to be a part of your next project! If you are thinking about following in Westmount Community League’s footsteps, we can help. If you would like a free estimate, call us or fill in our estimate request form (link below).

Gridworks Energy Group
(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

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