On May 15, 2015, the largest ever photovoltaic system in Nova Scotia was commissioned as part of a Sydney home.
This system will generate up to 23,000 kWh of power annually - enough to supply almost all of the home's needs.
Power produced from the solar array is first used in the home with any excess power sent back to the grid for credit under Nova Scotia Power's enhanced net metering agreement. The ‘credit’ can be applied during the winter months when there is less sun available, thereby reducing or eliminating the home's operating costs on a year round basis.
“Solar PV is a great way to own your own electricity instead of renting it from the power company” said Brian Rose, Co-Owner of Appleseed Energy, the supplier of the system. “Once the PV system is paid, homeowners will enjoy years of free power.”
In the first 75 days, the system generated almost 4000 kWh. This system is larger than most due to the demands of the additional structures on the property, including an indoor swimming pool and guest cottage. Even during our recent inclement weather, notably the week of June 24, the system still generated 361 kWh and on a good week it can easily generate over 1000 kWh.
Typically, most homes would get a reasonable return on their investment within the range of a 3-5 kilowatt installation. In addition to wanting to eliminate the use of heating oil, one of the reasons the homeowner went ahead with the install was based on the significant reduction in the cost of PV power which can now be installed for well under $4/watt. "Solar Nova Scotia hopes that other homeowners will take note of the recent price reductions for PV and the excellent return on investment (ROI) now possible with a solar installation of this type." said Richard Vinson, chair of Solar Nova Scotia.
Since there are currently no subsidies for PV in Nova Scotia, the total ROI for this project is expected to be 11-15 years, (with a typical system life expectancy of 30-50 years). Most often, the ROI will depend on financing, the complexity of the installation, the increase in power rates over the life of the system, and inflation.
"Hopefully the government of Nova Scotia and Canada will soon encourage the wider use of PV energy by providing a rebate or feed-in-tariff (FIT) available to all Nova Scotians to help offset the cost of installation," said Vinson, "With electricity prices headed in only one direction, now, more than ever before, solar power makes real economic sense in Nova Scotia."