RESIDENTIAL SOLAR PANEL BULK BUY
Update: Please note, we organized two successful bulk buys and now have negotiated a different arrangement for our members for future purchases. The information on this page is still valid, however, the new arrangements we have made are at the end of this page.
Why a solar bulk purchase and installation?
By purchasing panels as a group we are able to access lower prices. A bulk purchase enables volume discounts, reduces shipping costs and increases efficiencies. Although there are currently no government rebates or incentives in BC, by joining together we have the power to reduce the upfront costs significantly and going solar with our neighbours helps develop support networks that are vital to a healthy, sustainable community.
What kind of solar panels are being installed?
We are committed to searching out quality made and ethically sourced solar panels.
What's the installation process?
The first step is to arrange for a site assessment. Several local, experienced contractors are available for people wishing to have assessments and installations done professionally. If you are interested in learning how to do your own assessment, Clear Energy Solutions, along with SCCSA Board member Gerry Pageau, have offered workshops and are expected to offer more. They fill up very quickly, so don't wait to sign up! People on our mailing list will get an e-mail when details of future workshops are finalized. Note that you can do your own assessment and still have professional contractors do all or part of your installation. Applications to BC Hydro as well as final hook-ups must be done by a certified electrician.
Who can participate?
While the program is presently aimed at the Sunshine Coast, all BC residents are welcome to participate. Participants in the bulk buy will be responsible for picking up their panels upon delivery or arranging their own delivery from the Sunshine Coast.
What are the costs?
Final costs are determined separately for each bulk buy and will depend in part on the number of participants.
How do I calculate my solar energy needs?
Have a look at your power bills from the last year. The average household in Canada uses about 12,000 kWh per year. Take this number and divide by 1150 kWh/kW of installed solar. This will equal the capacity needed to be net zero (in this case 10.43 kW or 40 panels). Another way to think about it is that 1000 watts of installed solar power will give you 1150 kWh of energy output. Solar energy projects are often as small as 4 kW and still contribute to a household’s power needs while helping to reduce emissions and power bills.
Where can I access financing for solar installations?
BC homeowners in need of financing can contact the Sunshine Coast Credit Union for more information on their preferred residential rates and Greener Home Loans. Greener Home Loans are for BC homeowners who are upgrading their homes to more efficient technology. (NB: The SCCSA has developed a strategic partnership with the SCCU to offer affordable financing options for the purchase and installation of solar panels.)
How does participating in the bulk program help the SCCSA?
Participation in the bulk buy helps to promote renewable energy on the Sunshine Coast and, equally important, it helps to foster and empower a collaborative, resilient community.
What is the next step?
Contact the SCCSA to get on our email list, arrange for a site assessment or training workshop.
What are the program deadlines?
The deadline for panel orders was determined when a commitment to purchase 200+ panels was achieved. The first bulk buy order was placed in June 2016. The second was completed in the summer of 2017.
PLEASE NOTE: NEW ARRANGEMENTS
There were issues with our bulk buy - the time it took to gather enough people to make it worthwhile meant that many backed out. The supplier we used for the bulk buy has come up with a good offer for us: Clear Energy Solutions will offer SCCSA members monitoring equipment included on all systems over 8 panels and for systems over 24 panels, they will also cover 50% of the permit fee, and 100% of the permit fee on systems over 48 panels: http://clearenergysolutions.ca If this interests you, please contact them but please note that you must take out a membership in the Solar Association.
If you have a significant number of panels, and these are residential buildings, we are also partnering on a program whereby VREC (Vancouver Renewable Energy Cooperative) will pay the capital costs of the solar panels and installation and the owner pays a higher hydro rate in the initial years. I mention residential since this program only makes sense for residential users because they already pay higher Hydro rates compared to industrial and commercial users. Contact us for more information.
Solar thermal hot water heaters are very effective and can save a lot on your hydro bill. Warmland Solar Solutions www.warmlandsolarsolutions.com (cell 250-812-2006) is offering our members a 10% discount.
To take advantage of these offers, confirmation of membership is required. If you haven't already become a member, just go to our website and follow the membership link. https://suncoastcommsolar.weebly.com/membership.html