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Welcome
Mar 7th, 2017

Generate Your Own Electricity

For Less Than You Pay Now

Most people don/’t know it but in Ontario we have a choice where we get our electricity from. We no longer need to continue paying ever increasing rates to the utilities. You can join the tens of thousands of people in Ontario that generate their own power using solar.

We are located in Halton and have been in business for 27 years. We have helped hundreds of families and businesses save money on their hydro bills and we can help you do the same.

Check out our gallery or "Frequently Asked Questions" or just give us a call today to find out how you can save money by going green.

(519)853-2308

Long Distance: 1-866-559-1087

Email: sales@solardirectcanada.com

Connect with us on Facbook.

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Feb 20th, 2016

Grid Parity

Are we there yet?

Grid parity as it pertains to solar is the point where it is as cheap or cheaper to produce your own power from solar than it is to buy it from the grid. This is what we have been working toward for many years, the day when we can generate our own power affordably. The day we can tell the utilities to take a hike, we will take it from here.

Recognizing when we have achieved grid parity is not easy. Grid parity is dependent on many thing. The most important factors are cost of solar equipment, the interest rate and the cost of grid power.

The faster the utilities raise rates the faster we get to grid parity and for better or worse the rates in Ontario continue to escalate at a frightening rate. The average annual increase of electricity is over 10% annually. They do a good job hiding this behind time-of-use metering and smart meters but the fact is that the rates have escalated year over year by about 10.5%.

With the average cost of a secured loan at 2.5% the cost of capital is very low today. The cost to borrow the money to have your own solar system installed is less than the value in energy it will generate. You can be cash flow positive from day one; this is grid parity.

The best part is that all of this is outside of any government incentive programs. The microFIT program is still here and still makes sense for most people but we no longer need it to be at grid parity. The microFIT system has served us well but most of us in the industry will be glad to see it go.

Welcome to grid parity, Ontario!

Additional background information about grid parity can be found here..


Sept 30th, 2015

New Rates for 2016 are here!

Well the new rates are out and unlike last year’s cut this is a serious one. The rate cut this year is almost 25%, from 38.4 to 29.4 cents per kWh. The rate changes are supposed to reflect the changing economics in the solar industry but since our dollar has lost 20% of it's value this year, it hasn't worked out that way. On the world market there may have been some price reductions but here in Ontario where we have to buy things with CDN dollars that's not the case.

So why such a dramatic decrease in feed in rate? Unfortunately like everything else in the energy sector, politics plays a huge role. The Ontario Liberals have taken too much heat for too long and rather than taking the time to defend the program their efforts seem focused elsewhere. Lowering the rate to this level means that the program can be transitioned to a net-metering based program that much sooner. There are plenty of Hydro One customers already paying 25 cents a kWh so how far off can net-metering be?

The message as always is, “Get your application in now!” The rate applies to all projects that receive their AAN after December 31st which means if you want this year’s rate you really need to get your application in today. For some customers there may be a week or two left but if you are a customer of a slow moving utility like Toronto Hydro it is probably already too late.

New IESO feed in tariff rates vs old rates
Renewable Fuel Old Rate New Rate Change
Solar Rooftop <10kW 38.4 29.4 -25%
Solar Rooftop 10kW - 100kW 34.3 24.2 -29%
Solar Rooftop 100kW - 500kW 31.6 22.5 -29%
Solar Ground <10kW 28.9 22.5 -22%
Solar Ground 10kW - 500kW 27.5 20.9 -24%

So once again if you have any plans of going solar in the near futre you need to seriously considering doing it now. If you wait until next year it could cost you over $20,000 in lost revenue if you wait.

All the gory details can be found here..

For comparison, the old price schedule can be found here.


Jun 9th, 2015

Off-Grid Panels Now in Stock

Photo of two technicians installing an off-grid rooftop

We finally have 12V panels back in stock. We just recieved a skid of Sonali 100W panels. There has been alot of interest in 36 cell panels this Spring and we sold out early. We have had to turn down numerous enquiries because none of our distributors had them either.

You might ask, Why would anyone want a 100W panel when for a little more money you could get a 250W panel? If you are building a grid-tie system, you wouldn't but if you want to charge a 12V battery you definietly need 36 cells. A regular 60 cell panel puts out 250W but that's at 30V. If you try to charge a 12V battery, you will be getting less than 100w to the battery.

The same goes for 24 volts. In the heat of summer a regular panel is putting out about 26V which is not enough voltage to properly charge a 24V battery. Two of these 100W panels together or a 72 cell is what you would require.

Get them while we still have them


Apr 17th, 2015

Prices are Going Up

Photo of upward trending arrow

We have been fortunate to be in an industry where prices typically go down over time rather than up. Everything else seems to go up but year after year we have seen solar panels come down to the point where they are no longer the most expensive part of a solar system. In fact with systems over 10kW the cost of the grid connection for a project can exceed the cost of the panels for the project.

To a smaller extent, inverters and racking systems have come down in price over the years too as volume has risen. Other than utility fees and labour almost everything has come down in price consistently.

Unfortunately in the past six months this trend has reversed and it had done so for two reasons. The first one is the exchange rate. Regardless where panels or other equipment is made, they are priced in US dollars and of course the US dollar has been on a bit of tear lately gaining almost 25%.

The second reason is that on March 5th, Canadian Border Services slapped a duty on Chinese made panels. Duty is not even the right word, they have essentially banned most Chinese manufactures by placing duties of 200% or more on imported panels. This has crippled the supply of panels since there simply is not enough domestic supply to meet demand. So even if you weren’t planning on using Chinese panels it doesn’t matter since all prices are now coming up due to the short supply.

We are trying to hold the line on pricing but unfortunately prices are going up at least for the short term. In time, Chinese manufactures will find ways to assemble in India or other places. In the long run the duty may not matter but until the Canadian dollar gains some strength we are in for higher prices.

So don’t be surprised if the system you want installed today is more expensive than the system you priced last year. Sorry folks.


Dec 16th, 2014

Photo of 90kW project nearing completion in Goderich

Goderich FIT Project Reaches Commercial Operation

We are pleased to announce that our most recent FIT project has been connected to the grid and is now authorized to sell power back to the grid. What is not apparent from the photo is that there are actually panels on both sides of the roof bring the total panel count to 660.

This site will now generate clean renewable power for the next 20 years. During that time it will reduce Ontario carbon footprint by 80 million pounds.


Dec 15th, 2014

New Proposals for 2015

The OPA has surprised us once again with a bunch of proposed changes or “Program Enhancements” to use their terminology. This is usually bad news but in this case almost all of them are positive. These proposals were in the form of a ministerial directive that directs the OPA to work on/consider the following.

1. Expansion of the microFIT Eligible Participant Schedule

This is more about putting the rules back the the way they were. The proposal is to allow charities, conservation authorities and businesses to participate in the microFIT program again. This means that if your property is registered in a business name you are still eligible. We are not even sure why they took this away in the first place.

2. Multiple projects allowed per applicant

This is once again just putting things back the way they were. This would allow you to be able to own multiple projects. Once again, we are not sure why they took this away. If companies can own hundreds of FIT projects then why can’t you and I own more than one?

3. Series Metering Allowed

For a brief period, Measurements Canada did not allow in-series metering. This changed years ago but the OPA never got around to lifting the restriction. Without going into great detail as to what this is, suffice it to say that series metering could bring the cost of a system down by $1,000. The document states that this will be up to the utilities to decide if they want to allow it. This is a huge mistake since it will be simpler for the utilities not to allow it so this change may be a non-starter.

4. Extension of the Application Approval Notice

This change would give us more time to get a system installed before the approval notice expires. This is not a big deal but it doesn’t hurt.

5. The last change proposed is to limit microFIT to solar. The sad reality is that wind and other renewable fuels don’t work well at the microFIT scale, at least not at the rates the OPA is paying. Solar has made up more than 99% of the microFIT applications to date and this is just their way of simplifying the program.

So once again these changes have not been made yet, they are only up for discussion. One or more of these proposals may never happen and we have no timetable on when they could happen if they do. Nevertheless it is good to know that they are at least going down the right path.

You can read more about these proposals here.

OPA Discussion Paper for 2015.


Sept 30th, 2014

New Rates are here!

Well good news and bad news, actually good news and great news. The good news is that the FIT solar rates are only going to drop by 3% starting January 1st 2015. The great news is that they have actually released the rate before it took effect, they actually did what they said they were going to do! This doesn't sound that remarkable but in past years they haven't released the rate until after it took effect, in fact one year we were almost a year without a rate. It is very hard to commit to anything when no one knows what the rate is going to be.

The table below shows the actual numbers. Interestingly enough, the rate was increased for almost every category other than solar. Anyone in the landfill gas category did well with a more than double, 122% increase in the tariff. Of course the only people into landfill are the municipalities so no surprise there. Water power also got a healthy increase of 66%. In comparison with those numbers, solar's 3% decrease doesn't sound so great but all and all it was as good as we could expect."

New OPA feed in tariff rates vs old rates
Renewable Fuel Old Rate New Rate Change
Solar Rooftop <10kW 39.6 38.4 -3%
Solar Rooftop 10kW - 100kW 34.5 34.3 -.5%
Solar Rooftop 100kW - 500kW 32.9 31.6 -4%
Solar Ground <10kW 29.1 28.9 -.5%
Solar Ground 10kW - 500kW 28.8 27.5 -4%

So the message is the same for solar, get your applications in as soon as possible so that you may still be able to get the 39.6 cents. The drop may only be 3% but that still adds up to $3,000 over the life of the contract.

The complete new price schedule can be found here.

For comparison, the old price schedule can be found here.


Sept 22, 2014

Photo of 100kW project nearing completion in Erin

Limited Shares Still Available

7.75% Per Year

Our partners at Polar Bear Solar Co-operative started offering shares in their Erin project earlier this year. As of last week they were almost completely sold out. They have reserved the last block of shares for County of Wellington residents only.

According to the president of the cooperative, Russell Lauzon, "The purpose of the solar cooperative has always been to promote local participation in renewable energy projects. We are pleased with the demand we have had from all over Ontario, but we need to ensure that local residents still have a chance to participate. As of today we are now reserving the remaining shares to residents of Wellington County."

SolarDirectCanada will be connecting this project to the grid very shortly. All the panels and inverters are in place and we are just waiting for Hydro One to complete their part.

If you are a Wellington County resident and are interested in participating in this project than contact Russell Lauzon at (416) 435-9299. Shares are $1,000 each and pay 7.75 percent per year.


Sept 11, 2014

New Rates Coming

The OPA has announced that they will be posting a new price schedule as of September 30th. This may seem like a bad thing but it is actually a real step forward for the industry. If they follow through with this then for the first time we will have advance notice of a price change. In the past the OPA would spring price changes on us with no notice and even make them retroactive. It is hard to ask people to commit to spending money on a system when they can't count on what rate they will get.

So what will the new rate be? What should it be?

The stated purpose of the rate change is to account for price changes in equipment and installation costs. For better or for worse, prices over the past year have not changed much. We have seen some small reduction in panel prices but since inverters must now include AFCI, their prices have gone up to offset this. Overall it would be hard to argue that prices have changed enough to warrant any major price change.

The rate can also be used to adjust the uptake of solar under the FIT program. According to the latest OPA bi-weekly report, as of Sept 5th, we still have 47.6MW left of the original 65MW procurement target this year. This means that this late in the year there is still 73% of their target left. And of the 17MW that is counted toward this target, less than 10% has actualy been installed at this point. I think most people would draw the conclusion that if they want to meet their target then the current rate is too low already.

Regardless of the above the OPA will set the rate wherever they want and we are just going to have to wait and see. Bottom line is get your application in soon if you want to be part of this current rate.

More information on the price review can be found here.


Jan 24, 2014

The recent ice storm has many people thinking about battery backup systems and what can be done to prepare for such emergencies in future. The reality of a situation like this is that if you can keep your fridge, freezer, furnace, and a few lights running, then you'll be 90% squared away. Give us a call or drop us an email and we can discuss the options with you.

The MicroFIT rates for 2014 will remain at 39.6c/kWh, which means you can still earn up to 13% Return on your Investment. If you can find a better investment these days, please let us know! For now we prefer good, clean, sunshine.


Oct 19, 2013

We got some inquiries lately so we thought we would post here that we are in no way affiliated with the company in this ad.


Oct 2, 2013

Solar Power Open House in Georgetown
** 12kW Rooftop System **
Saturday, Oct 5, 2013
13536 15th Sideroad
Georgetown, ON
L7G 4S5
10AM - 4PM

Come by and chat with our industry experts about a solar power system on your roof and the financial advantages.


View Larger Map


September 9, 2013

More OPA Announcements etc.

The new rates have been announced by the OPA and the application portal has been reopened. The new rate for rooftop MicroFIT projects is 39.6c/kWh and the new rate for ground-mount MicroFIT is 29.1c/kWh. You can read more on Version 3 of the MicroFIT program here: http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/.

If you're looking for top-quality solar panels, look no further. We have the ONLY Sharp panels with Ontario domestic content available anywhere. You will not find a better solar panel backed by a more reptuable manufacturer. If you're interested in an offgrid or emergency battery backup system, give us a call.


January 30, 2013

OPA Announcements etc.

Welcome news from the OPA today stating that for the time being it will be status quo on the MicroFIT rates. So new applications for rooftop solar power systems will continue to enjoy the 54.9c/kWh rate. See their brief update at the top of this page.

In other news, the Canada Revenue Agency put up a special page on their website to talk about the impact of earning revenue from solar power on your income. For those that are unaware, under Class 43.1 and 43.2, you can claim 50% depreciation on your system every year, so in effect your income from revenue should be non-taxable until the system is paid off. See this page for more details.

Solar Direct Canada has over 100 MicroFIT and FIT systems installed in Milton, Guelph, Georgetown, Fergus, Acton, Kitchener, Waterloo, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Toronto, and as far away as Tobermory, Parry Sound, and Perth. There are no limits to where we will install in Ontario, and our own team of experts does every install.


November 14, 2012

Ordering Information

Our online ordering system is down at the moment, so if you are looking to purchase something from our inventory please call us directly at 1-866-559-1087, or email us at sales@solardirectcanada.com.


July 11, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Oak Ridges (Richmond Hill / Aurora)
** 10kW Rooftop System **
Sunday July 15, 2012
Richmond Hill, ON
10AM - 4PM


June 6, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Milton
** 10kW Rooftop System **
Sunday July 8, 2012
Milton, ON
10AM - 4PM


June 21, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Acton
** 10kW Rooftop System **
Sunday June 23, 2012
Acton, ON
10AM - 4PM


June 6, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Oak Ridges (Richmond Hill / Aurora)
** 10kW Rooftop System **
Sunday June 10, 2012
Richmond Hill, ON
10AM - 4PM


May 22, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Georgetown
** 13kW Rooftop System **
Sunday May 27, 2012
Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


May 14, 2012

BUYING FIT AND MICROFIT CONTRACTS


Do you have a constrained MicroFIT contract?


Did you apply before Dec 8, 2010?
Were you denied by Hydro One before Aug 19, 2011?
Your contract will expire worthless in a few days’ time… (June 1, to be exact)
Or you could get money for it. But you have to act right now.
Please don't delay, it will take time to process the paperwork.
Call us at 1-866-559-1087


May 9, 2012

Solar Power Open House in Georgetown
** 6kW Rooftop System **
Sunday May 13, 2012
Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who stopped by.


April 20, 2012

Open House in Georgetown
** 6.2kW Rooftop System **
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


April 10, 2012

Open House in Georgetown
** 12kW Rooftop System **
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all that came by.


March 22, 2012

NEW MicroFIT/FIT RULES/RATES


The Ontario Government has announced new rules and rates for the MicroFIT and FIT programs. You can find the announcement here: Feed-In Tariff Program Two-Year Review and the details in a PDF document here: FIT Review Report.

While the PDF document describes a lot of broad changes to the rules of both programs, the details won't become available until the OPA determines how to implement the changes and divulges them to the rest of us.

However, the prices are there for all to see, and can be found on page 27 of the PDF document. For MicroFIT ground-mount PV systems, the price has gone from 64.2c to 44.5c. For rooftop PV systems, the price has gone from 80.2c to 54.9c. It's a dramatic change and will have a serious impact on the solar power business in Ontario, but not the end of the world. Prices of panels have come down over the past couple years and the few companies at our level will continue to become more efficient as we carry on.

From a Return On Invesment perspective, there is no reason why a good roof with a good southern exposure can't earn 10% under the new rate structure.

As always, if you already have an 80.2c or 64.9c contract then you're still fine. Your contract has already locked you in for the 20 years.


January 22, 2012

WE BUY FIT CONTRACTS


Do you have a FIT or MicroFIT application with a contract offer? Your time is running out to do something with it! Don't let it expire worthless.

We are looking for FIT and MicroFIT projects to purchase. If you have a contract offer for your project then contact us today and we can negotiate an upfront cash settlement.

Also, if you have a contract offer but are just looking for a financing partner, or just simply an installer, contact us for a free consultation. We have the experience to get your large projects in fast.


January 6, 2012

Good News for solar power owners in Ontario!


On January 4, 2012, the Ontario Government announced new rules governing the property tax treatment of renewable energy installations.

The good news is that property taxes for properties with roofmount or ground-mount systems in the MicroFIT program (10kW and under) are virtually unaffected. See the FACT SHEET for more information.


October 27, 2011

Open House in Acton
** 6.72kW Rooftop System **
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Acton, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


April 26, 2011

Open House - 2 Locations!


For the second time ever, we're having two open houses on the same day. This special event is part of the Earth Day Fair, organized by the Town of Halton Hills in cooperation with our friends at the Halton Environmental Network.

First Location!
** 6kW Rooftop System **
Saturday, April 30, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Second Location!
** 12kW Rooftop System **
Saturday, April 30, 2011
1PM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


April 13, 2011

Open House in Georgetown
** 5.6kW Rooftop System **
Sunday, April 17, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who stopped by.


April 13, 2011

Open House in Georgetown
** 5.6kW Rooftop System **
Sunday, April 17, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who stopped by.


March 25, 2011

Open House in Georgetown
** 6kW Rooftop System **
Sunday, March 27, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


March 10, 2011

Open House in Acton
** 11.7kW Dual-Axis Tracker **
Sunday, 13, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


March 8, 2011

How to Choose the Right Solar Partner

You want a solar power system. You want to take advantage of the MicroFIT program. You want a great investment. Now comes the hard part: choosing the right solar partner.

It's tough out there in the trenches. You approach different vendors because you're supposed to. You get 3 quotes because you're supposed to. You try your best but are you comparing apples to apples? How will I be sure I'm not just getting a leaky roof? Am I happy buying panel X or should I go with the better Sharp panels? Is this vendor going to treat me like I'm the boss?

Well, we've come up with one sure-fire way of determining how to choose the right vendor. Tell your prospective vendor this: "Show me a list of 20 systems in my area that you have installed and let me choose one at random. I would like to see that system and speak with that home-owner." Will you get excuses or will you get a list? If you get a list, then chances are you're speaking with Solar Direct Canada.


February 21, 2011

Open House in Georgetown
** 5.6kW Rooftop **
Sunday, February 27, 2011
54 Hewson Cres., Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.


February 8, 2011 - Open House this Saturday

Open House in Acton
** 5.5kW Rooftop **
Saturday, February 12, 2011
10AM - 4PM

Thanks to all who came by.

February 1, 2011 - New FIT Program

The OPA announced today a new FIT program for Commercial Aggregators. This program is intended for commercial entities who wish to take advantage of the MicroFIT program but don't qualify under the current rules. The new program is called CFIT, or Commercial Feed-In-Tariff. Solar Power systems in the CFIT program will earn 71.3c/kWh for rooftop and 44.3c/kWh for ground-mount.

How does this affect the MicroFIT program and your existing application or contract? It doesn't. It's simply a new and separate program stream. If you have any questions please contact us and we'll be happy to answer them.

January 25, 2011 - Open House this Saturday

Open House in Georgetown
** 6kW Rooftop **
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Georgetown, ON
10AM - 4PM

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by. If you missed this event but would like this or another one of our installations, please contact us and we'll make arrangements.

January 3, 2011 - Sharp Panels in stock

We now have Ontario-made solar panels in our warehouse that satisfies the 2011 domestic content requirements under the MicroFIT program. These panels are made by Sharp and are top tier in the industry.

If you have your OPA Contract already in hand and haven't talked to us yet, give us a call. We have everything in stock and can get started on your project right away.

December 12, 2010 - Some pictures from one of our recent installs

October 7, 2010 - Updates

We're quickly approaching a deadline of sorts. Come January 1, 2011, anyone hoping to get a solar PV system in on the MicroFIT program will have to comply with 60% domestic content (up from 40% this year). Essentially it means we (and every other solar company in this province) will have to start buying solar panels made in Ontario. This reduces our number of panel suppliers quite drastically. If you're serious about getting into the MicroFIT program and would rather buy a system at today's prices, you better contact us soon.

On an unrelated note, we are now installing our dual-axis tracker systems (11.28kW) on 3 poles or 4. (PS: Did you know we manufacturer our own tracker heads? We do!)

September 23, 2010 - Open House & Milton Fall Fair

We like busy weekends, I guess. We'll be having an Open House in Fergus and we'll also be attending the Milton Fall Fair. Come chat with us!

Solar Power Open House
Sunday September 26, 2010
8.4kW Rooftop System

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. If you missed this opportunity but would still like to see the install, please contact us to make arrangements.

August 18, 2010 - Open House Sunday August 29

As part of the Halton Region Solar Project, we're showing off two locations!

Solar Power Open House
Sunday August 29, 2010
Two Sites!

============================

1:00pm - 2:30pm
11.04kW Ground-Mount MicroFIT System

============================

2:30pm - 4:00pm
4.6kW Rooftop MicroFIT System

============================

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by.

August 13, 2010 - Good News & Bad News
The Ontario Power Authority finally made their announcement regarding price changes for ground-mounted solar power. The good news is that all applications that were submitted before July 2 will get the full 80.2c/kWh.

The not-so-great news is that all apps submitted after July 2, for ground-mount systems, will receive 64.2c/kWh. There is still money to be made here, just not as much.

You can read their press release here.

July 22, 2010 - MicroFIT Town Hall
We attended the MicroFIT town hall in Vaughan this evening. Among the guests were:

Ben Chin, VP Communications, Ontario Power Authority (OPA)
Jaret Henhoeffer, CEO, Penguin Power - A Developer's Perspective
Ian Karleff, CEO, AS Solar - A Distributor's Perspective
Adam Webb, CEO, Sentinel Solar - A Manufacturer's Perspective
Carlos Leite, CEO, Solarize Energy - A Policy Perspective

All of the presentations were excellent, except Ben Chin's which was pretty canned, as expected. As usual, Ben kept asking people over and over to email in their experiences, data, and information. But while the OPA have kept asking for this information, Ben said during his presentation (paraphrasing): "One of the two things we keep hearing from everyone is that the new model is fair, they just don't like how it was announced."

Well I was one of the ones that stood up for questions, and my question was to the crowd: Does anyone here feel the new model is fair and they just don't like how it was announced? No one raised their hands, no one stood up. It was very quiet. So I turned to Mr. Chin and said, "There you go."

Once again, the most important point of the entire evening was this: since the OPA isn't listening or doesn't care, our only voice left is your local MPP. Call them now. Ask what they're doing for you. Insist they react on your behalf. Now.

July 22, 2010 - The MicroFIT battle heats up
In an interesting development, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has gotten involved and issued a press release:

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) must fully disclose the financial assumptions it used to justify the price cut to Ontario’s renewable energy feed-in tariff ("microFIT") program, says Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. “People will lose confidence in Ontario’s commitment to green energy,” he warned. “We need the full financial details used to justify this price cut.”

Read the full release here.

We're quickly running out of time, so the time to act is now! If you haven't recently, get in touch with your MPP and ask for a status update. Ask them what they've done and what their plans are for helping all MicroFIT homeowners. Let them know you'll call them again in a couple of days for another status update. Do not let up!

July 16, 2010 - OPA Clearly Out To Lunch
The OPA released a "rationale" document for their price change for ground-mounted systems. What's odd about this article (besides the fact that they still haven't provided any of the magical data they keep purporting to have used), is that it clearly shows a gross year-one return of 14.7% for the tracker system, and a 15.2% return for the fixed (and conveniently doesn't show any numbers for rooftop, since it would show roughly the same kind of numbers).

But then they point to a 23% ROI for the former, and 24% for the latter. Now, what kind of universe did they compute their math to arrive at these numbers? Well, they've retreated into the world of debt/equity ratios. Witness:

In setting FIT and microFIT rates, OPA took into account typical project capital costs, operating and maintenance costs, financing costs and expected electricity production over the life of the project. A 70/30 debt/equity split was assumed and debt borrowing costs were assumed at 7 percent.

This is, quite frankly, one of the most ridiculous things we've ever come across. Sure, if you want to sit there and service 70% price of the system as debt, you can probably make 24% return on the 30% that you invested yourself. But who on earth would actually calculate their investment like this? Certainly none of our customers. No sane person would. There are a number of problems with us, such as what happens to the 70% debt that you are servicing at the end of the contract?

What is this really pointing to? The OPA is clearly doing whatever they can to justify the rate change decision. Which means they've been ordered to make the change regardless of how stupid it is. Ie: this is entirely political. This is no longer a game of trying to clue them in, because they already know the truth. We must fight this battle on the political level.

Contact your MPP today and insist on a meeting. Communicate your concerns and get their position on the matter. If you get a meeting set up with your MPP and would like one of us to attend to help clarify the facts, we would be more than happy to help you out. Do not let up. This is far from over.

Big thanks to Ted Chudleigh, MPP for Halton Region for taking a stand against the OPA and McGuinty's government. If you know of an MPP who is fighting with us, please let us know so we can publicly thank them for their support.

July 15, 2010 - Open House this Sunday
Well we're moving forward because we believe in this business and in green energy. We hope you do too.

Open House in Acton
** 12kW Roof-top **
Sunday July 18, 2010
10AM - 4PM

Big thanks to everyone who came out for the event. If you missed it but would still like to see this installation, please contact us.

July 9, 2010 - MPPs are listening!
If you've read this article in The Star, you can see our communication plan is working! But this is no time to stop, in fact this is the time to ramp it up. Contact your local MPP again, thank them for bringing the issue to McGuinty, and encourage them to not let up. It is very important to make them aware that the Return On Investment of ground-mount is no more than rooftop. Also, if you can arrange a meeting with your local MPP, we'll be glad to accompany and assist you in your presentation.

July 9, 2010 - OPA Webcasts
If you missed the OPA webcasts on Tuesday and Thursday, you can listen to both at these links:

Tuesday's Webcast
Thursday's Webcast

You can still help! Write to your local MPP and tell them how you feel. Also, the OPA wants to hear your experiences. Write to them and tell them how much you've seen rooftop and ground-mount systems quoted for and how much rate of return was expected on each system.

We have an automated tool that we use to price systems and also tells us the rate of return for each type. Under ideal conditions, a ground-mount system will have a 20 year return of 13.9%. An equivallent sized rooftop system will have a 14.1% return. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

(Please note these numbers don't account for insurance, maintenance, cost of borrowing, loss of land use (if you're a farmer and are using agricultural land, there's an actual $ here), and whatever costs are unique to your situation. Your true ROI is always lower and very likely in the 10 to 11% the OPA keeps harping about.)

July 7, 2010 - OPA Changes Rules for no good reason - continued
If you listened in on the OPA webcast yesterday, then you will know that several things are immediately apparent:

  • Homeowners across the board are outraged over the "proposed" changes.
  • Companies like ourselves, who have made a significant investment in preparing ourselves for ground-mount system installs, are flabbergasted that the OPA has pulled the rug out from under us with zero warning. We'll see some bankruptcies in the coming weeks.
  • We're not sure which cave the OPA were sitting in when they did their research, compiled their data, and decided that ground-mount systems were so much cheaper than rooftop systems, but it certainly wasn't part of the real world or had anything to do with consulting the companies who are selling and implementing these systems.
  • Based on the new version of the MicroFIT rules already published on the website, and the changes to the application process, including unlocking all outstanding microfit applications, this whole thing sure seems like a done deal, donit?
One thing NOT mentioned yesterday: The OPA has said this initiative is to ensure the program remains sustainable. Well, if there are 16,000 MicroFIT applications, and if they were all implemented, and if they were all 10kW systems, then we have 160MW of power coming online through MicroFIT. Compare that to 2500MW of power recently granted contracts under the FIT program. Or compare it to that ridiculous Samsung deal. If you were going to try and reduce costs in the fit/microfit programs, where would you start?

One thing you can do right now: they want to hear from you. They want to hear about your experiences, exactly how much you paid for your system, how much different companies are quoting, how you financed it, what kind of return you are expecting. If you've already done work or spent money preparing for your system, such as removing trees or preparing access to your land, let them know. You can send your emails to the OPA here: microfit@powerauthority.on.ca.

July 5, 2010 - OPA Changes Rules for no good reason
The Ontario Power Authority released new changes to the MicroFIT program last Friday that call for a change in the price they're paying for ground-mount PV electricity to 58.8c/watt down from 80.2c/watt. Their reasoning is: "The proposed new price category will better reflect the lower costs to install a ground-mounted solar PV project versus a rooftop project. It will provide a price that enables future project owners to recover costs of the projects as well as earn a reasonable return on their investment over the long-term." This is, quite frankly, hogwash.

Perhaps they are unaware of the 40 tons of concrete that is required in a ground-mount system, or the several tons of steel (in addition to aluminum that is 3x the strength of rooftop), or the $100,000 worth of equipment required to dig holes, trench 350', remove dirt, or crane to hoist equipment into place on top of the poles. Not to mention 2 weeks worth of labour instead of 2 days.

This move is especially painful for us as most of our customers have purchased ground-mount systems, and we've made significant investment on gearing up for these installs, including having product in inventory waiting for install. We have OPA applications that we have been waiting for responses from, dating back to February. These, too, are affected by this change.

Since the ROI is pretty much the same between the two, the only reason people are opting for ground-mount systems is because so few people have ideal rooftops.

If you care about the solar industry, consider making yourself heard now. Write a letter to your local MPP and to the OPA. There is a 30 day comment period regarding these changes, so please send your letters now. If you would like a sample letter you can use to forward to your local elected official, please email us and we will forward you one.

May 29, 2010 - Open House this Saturday

Open House in Acton

** 10.8kW Dual-Axis Tracker **
** 4.6kW Roof-top **

Saturday June 12, 2010
10AM - 4PM

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by. If you missed this open house but would still like to see one of our installed systems, please contact us and we'll arrange an appointment.

May 29, 2010 - Another System Online
We have another system with online monitoring. This is a 4.6kW rooftop system near Acton, Ontario. Click here.

May 11, 2010 - More Pictures
Some pictures from one of our roof-top installs: Click here.

April 27, 2010 - Open House this Sunday

Open House in Acton
Sunday May 2, 2010
Two Sites!

============================

2 - 3pm
10.8kW Ground-Mount MicroFIT System
============================

3 - 4pm
12.19kW Rooftop MicroFIT System
============================

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by. Once again, the coffee machine was a big hit. If you were there but didn't get a chance to ask questions, drop us a line at sales@solardirectcanada.com or give us a call tollfree at 1-866-559-1087.

April 17, 2010 - Pictures and Panels
We discovered a couple more pictures of the Acton install with John working on one of the Actuators, so we threw them up with the others. Click here to see the whole series.

Also note that we have added Sharp 230W panels to the products section at a very good price.

Monday March 22, 2010 - Open House this Sunday

Open House in Acton
Sunday March 28, 2010
10AM - 4PM

Big thanks to everyone who dropped by.

March 10, 2010 - MicroFIT Update

As of March 8:

  • 180 MicroFIT projects are connected to the grid and receiving payments for electricity generated.
  • The OPA has received 6,176 applications since October 1, of which 6,114 are solar PV.
  • 2000 conditional offers have been sent out.
While they're currently backlogged with MicroFIT apps (our last one took a little under 60 days to be granted a conditional offer), they're hoping to get it down to 30 days once they've caught up.

March 8, 2010 - Another Great Open House
We would like to thank everyone who came out to our Open House on Sunday. We had an amazing tournout, especially from the folks on the Halton Region Solar Project tour. We sold 3 more systems yesterday as folks are rushing to get in line to get their systems up and running before the summer sunshine comes. Also, the coffee machine was a big success.

March 3, 2010 - Open House

Open House in Halton Hills / Acton
Sunday March 7, 2010

This time we're part of the Halton Region Solar Project tour. Come by and check us out. There'll be free coffee, mochachino, hot chocolate, latte, and one more I can't remember.

February 17, 2010 - Halton Compass Article
There are two very fine looking gentlemen on the front page of the Halton Compass. Click here to read the article.

February 14, 2010 - Open House Questions
By far, the most common question we got at the Open House was, "Why isn't everyone doing this?" They will be, shortly. You're going to see solar systems going up everywhere within 6 months to a year. The only question we ask of you is: do you want to collect money now or do you want to be in the queue?

If you missed the open house but would still like to see the system in Acton in action, just contact us and we'll be happy to schedule a visit. Or you can call us toll free at 1-866-559-1087.

February 12, 2010 - Free TV at Open House
I was told not to announce it on the website but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm giving a free 28" LCD TV to anyone putting a down payment on a system at tomorrow's Open House. Tomorrow only!

February 4, 2010

Open House in Halton Hills / Acton
Saturday Feb 13, 2010
10AM - 4PM

Visit one of the largest residential ground-mount solar power systems in Ontario at our Open House. Talk with the owner and our solar professionals.

Big thanks to everyone who came to the Open House. It was a huge success! (And the coffee machine was a big hit too)

Jan 5, 2010 -- Monitoring for Acton Project
Our latest system in Acton is now being monitored online. Check live daily progress at our Solarvu Energy Portal.

Also, be sure to tune into AM800, CHUM Radio Windsor, as our co-founder Ray Jarvis is scheduled to appear on their Experts on Call program this Sunday, January 10th, at 9AM.

Dec 24, 2009 -- OPA Accepts Contracts
The OPA has announced that out of 2,200 applications submitted for FIT and MicroFIT contracts, 700 have been accepted and have received conditional offers.

As one of those 700, Solar Direct Canada will be flipping the switch on a 10kW ground-mount system in Halton Hills, our first under the new MicroFIT program. This is one of the largest residential systems in Ontario, and fully meets domestic content rules for the MicroFIT program.

We will be scheduling a ribbon-cutting ceremony shortly. Please contact us if you would like to attend: sales@solardirectcanada.com.

Dec 14, 2009 -- More Pictures
More pictures added here.

Nov 19, 2009 -- Pictures
Click here for some pictures of our latest installation. This is a 10.8kW ground-mount system near Acton, Ontario.

Nov 4, 2009 -- PST Rebate - More
Just a quick update as a few people have inquired about the criteria for claiming the PST rebate. The system must be purchased and installed by Jan 1, 2010 to qualify.

Oct 23, 2009 -- PST Rebate
Just a reminder that if you purchase a solar system before Jan 1, 2010, you are eligible to receive the PST back in full. That's up to $6500! Your ROI just got better. See this Ontario Ministry of Revenue page for more details.

Oct 14, 2009 -- OPA Update
The Ontario Power Authority held the first of a number of weekly post-FIT Announcement Q&A sessions with the public last Thursday. The hottest topic, of course, was the domestic content rules as announced in their FIT and microFIT rules released Sept 24. For solar PV microFIT projects, a whopping 40% must be Ontario sourced. This makes it challenging for solar PV installers such as ourselves as we must adhere to these rules or be declined under the microFIT program.

The real problem stems from the lack of manufacturers of solar PV and mounting systems in Ontario. It will take time for national and international suppliers to scale up some kind of manufacturing solution for Ontario customers. Fortunately they are pushing forward for some quick work-arounds and we expect resolution within the coming month.

In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that we have a solution for ground-mount systems and we can install these projects and be approved for microFIT asap. Roof-mount systems will not lag long, however, and now is a great chance to jump the queue and get your position.

And finally, the Ontario Power Authority are meeting with the Minister of Environment to further discuss the domestic content rules, and we wouldn't be surprised if they tweaked these rules in our favour in the near term.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Sept 24, 2009 -- Important Announcement from the Ontario Power Authority
The OPA has announced the Feed-In Tarriff program, a first for Canada. Homeowners can now enjoy money from the government in return for clean green energy produced on their homes.

Read the official announcement for more information.

How much will I be paid? Up to 80.2c/kwH for solar panels on your roof. Check the price schedule here.

News for Ontario Homeowners

With the passing of the Ontario Green Energy Act we have the last piece of the “perfect storm” for the solar industry (in a good way). The generous feed-in-tariff that it provides, coupled with very low interest rates and cheap equipment prices mean that there has never been a better time for solar energy in Ontario.

Best of all, this is not one of those opportunities that is meant just for the utilities and big corporations. The Act simplifies the energy regulations with the homeowner in mind, provides a “Right to Connect” and opens the door for everyone.

This “perfect storm” means that your roof is no longer just for keeping the rain out. It is now a place to invest money and can provide a rate of return that mutual funds can only dream of. To make things even more secure, this rate is guaranteed by the government for 20 years.

These are exciting times. Make the most of it.

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