What you need to know about green electricity

October 17, 2014

Despite greater cloud cover along the coasts, Canadians can still benefit from the installation of solar panels on the roofs of residential structures. 

What you need to know about green electricity

In fact, it has been estimated that approximately half of the country's electricity requirements could be met if such panels were installed on all residential rooftops.

  • Green electricity generated by a variety of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, has become cost effective to capture and easier than ever to store.

Green electricity at lower cost

In recent years, solar technology has become much more cost effective.

Solar panels

The photovoltaic cells that make up solar panels can convert sunlight to electricity with great efficiency.

  • Solar panels can now operate more effectively on cloudy days.
  • The long-term reliability of solar panels is better than ever.
  • In fact, some manufacturers offer warranties of 15 years or longer. In addition, installers have become more effective in installing the panels to optimize sun exposure.


Solar panels have also come down in price, and rebates from both manufacturers and utilities can make an investment in solar panels even more viable. A homeowner can find out how much a solar installation might cost from installers, who offer free estimates.

Utilities may purchase extra electricity

At times when bright sunshine results in more electricity than is needed, some provincial utilities will even purchase the excess.

  • For example, BC Hydro provides an eight-cent per kilowatt hour credit on a homeowner's bill.
  • Residents of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can also qualify.
  • In Ontario, the microFIT program provides for a much larger payment for excess electricity generated.

Improved battery storage systems

Interest in solar energy is also growing because of innovations in energy storage systems.

  • The capacity of lithium-ion batteries to store electricity generated by solar panels has increased while the cost of those batteries has declined.

The prospect of affordable solar energy storage systems is exciting, because it allows a homeowner to use solar energy at times when it is most needed.

  • Solar energy capture may peak in the afternoon, but many households have the greatest need for electricity in the evening.

Companies that specialize in renewable energy can analyze each homeowner's situation to determine whether a battery storage solution will be cost effective.

Return on your investment

One thing is certain. As prices come down and efficiencies increase, the overall return on investment offered by residential solar is more impressive than ever.

The interest in and demand for solar energy installations has resulted in the establishment of more companies that specialize in this inexhaustible energy source.

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

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