Solar Panel FAQ
With the help of project partners, the FVRD installed solar panels on the rooftop of its main office building in May 2019. The solar panels will lower the building’s electrical needs, reduce costs, and help to diversify the FVRD’s renewable energy usage for decades to come.
How much energy does the system generate?
The solar photovoltaic array is a 22.77 kW system which consists of 66 panels. It is expected to generate approximately 24,650 kWh annually.
What was the cost and where did the funding come from?
The project cost $58,000. $25,000 came from a grant from Solar Now and the rest came from carbon tax rebates paid back to the FVRD.
What are the anticipated savings from the project?
The system produces approximately 24,000 kWh/yr of energy (5% of the building’s energy needs), saving the FVRD an estimated $1,800/yr based on current BC Hydro rates. As BC Hydro’s rates go up, the savings will increase.
How much maintenance is required?
There are no anticipated maintenance needs associated with the solar panels.
How long will the solar panels last?
They have a 25-year performance warranty, although they are expected to remain functional for 30+ years. The racking system which holds the panels in place is made up of steel and aluminum components that hold up in all weather.
Are the solar panels recyclable?
Over 90% of the panel materials can be recycled. If the panels get replaced in the future for whatever reason, the priority will be to re-use them elsewhere first, rather than recycle them.
How does solar power compare to hydro power from a sustainability perspective?
There are associated emissions with all renewable energy sources. BC’s electrical grid does not use hydro power 100% of the time. Approximately 10% of electricity comes from other sources, such as natural gas or from the US. Having solar panels not only diversifies the renewable energy makeup and reduces demand on the energy grid, but also helps to reduce energy losses that occur from transmitting power over long distances as with hydroelectricity.
Are batteries required?
The FVRD’s building uses all of the energy produced so no batteries are required to store excess energy.
Are solar panels useful in this region with all the rain we get?
Even on a cloudy day, solar panels are still productive. They actually function better at cooler temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees celsius.