- Solar Panels
From June 2013 to December 2013 all of their electrical needs were provided for from the PV panels. December 2013 snow and ice storms effectively covered the panels and drastically reduced the electricity being produced. The owners stressed the importance of keeping the panels free of ice and snow. With the return of the sun they expect that by April 2014 they will start accumulating credits with NB Power for surplus power produced from the panels. Credits can be used during the next winter when the sun is weaker and when they need to rely more on the grid for their electrical needs. NB Power zeros out the credits in March. The credits owed to the customers don’t include HST but NB Power is required to charge tax when the owners purchase electricity.
24 solar panels were installed on April 2013 but were only tied to the grid (net metered) in June 2013. The potential output of this system is 6200 W. Since the system is net metered, NB Power required the owners to have a phone line available with an exterior phone jack. Every week, NB Power dialled in during the night to upload data. NB Power has since installed a different meter with a cell phone connection thus the need for an exterior phone jack was eliminated and the nighttime calls have ended.
What inspired the owners was an efficiency NB workshop about energy efficient home construction. During the workshop the presenter suggested that people could arrange financing through their mortgage. This is how the owners financed the panels. They consider this to be a worthwhile investment. They also recommend placing the inverter in an accessible location because the unit provides digital feedback on how much energy is being produced. Checking the panel readings has proven to be a very satisfying experience for them.
The owners also have a heat pump, and a drain water heat recovery system. They also plan to install a domestic solar hot water system. A necessary step for the owners as they want to get approved as a net zero home under the Efficiency NB program.