We all want to save money where we can. We’re from Winnipeg, after all. One of the somewhat still newer ways to do that is with solar energy systems. We say somewhat new just because, although the technology is proven, it’s still far off from its full technological potential.
However, there have been some major recent advancements with the solar panel technology and inverter technology, and more affordable options available to the average consumer.
Although the Manitoba Hydro Solar Energy Pilot Program was officially over on May 1, 2018, giving you one full year to complete solar panel installation, who’s to say that they don’t come out with a new program in the near future. Under this program, a lot of homeowners would be able to pay off the solar energy system investment in under ten years through savings.
Even without the subsidy program, manufacturers and retailers alike have solar panel sales all the time. If you’re looking for something to power your pool for the summer, or light your house, contact a professional Winnipeg electrician to do the install safely and to code.
There are two basic types of solar energy systems:
Off-grid solar energy systems
Do you have property that isn’t serviced by Manitoba Hydro? Or maybe you simply want to live a corporate-hydro free lifestyle.
Whatever the case, going off-grid might be the best fit for you.
The main difference between an off-grid system and a grid-tie system is that in an off-grid system, the excess power produced gets stored in a battery instead of going back into the grid.
If you run into a situation where you need more electricity than what’s being produced, the electrical reserves in the battery provide the extra power you need. For example, it’s another beautiful minus forty winter day in Winnipeg and your heater is running on extra high.
In the case where you do have access to the grid, as opposed to not having access to it due to remoteness for example, you can also employ a hybrid energy system. The hybrid system can alternate between accessing the grid and using the battery.
The beauty of a hybrid system is that you can reap all the benefits of a grid-tie system but have a fully operational backup electrical system in the case that the grid goes down.
Grid-tie solar energy systems
The grid-tie solar energy system is a bit more complex than the off-grid system in that solar power electricity is generated from solar panels, which could be on your roof or on the ground, and converted to usable AC electricity from unusable DC electricity through an inverter.
The inverter gives the home as much power as it needs, with any excess electricity getting sold back to the grid. By having the excess electricity sold back to the grid, you don’t have to invest in battery banks, which can be quite expensive and may not be ideally efficient (yet – Elon Musk is working on this -stay tuned).
How electricity is measured by Manitoba Hydro is as follows:
Most of us work in the daytime, which means our main power usage is in the evening. But our solar energy systems are producing all day while we’re at work or school. This means that homeowners can fully benefit from the electricity produced but without the cost of buying battery banks.