At one point in our lives, we have all had some sort of fantasy about living off the grid and away from the chaos of the city, spending the days harvesting our own food and being completely self-reliant.  After a few minutes of daydreaming, reality usually takes hold and we realize that we probably wouldn’t survive very long without our phones or our beloved Wi-Fi.  However, are there any elements of autonomous living we could incorporate into modern society? What about solar panel roofs?  Are they effective and would they even be functional in Alberta? 

The answer is both yes and no.  Solar panels are highly dependent on a few factors including how long you plan on staying in your current household, how much energy your household typically uses, the size of your roof and calculating how much you are currently spending on electricity.  Electricity can be a large expense each year, so installing solar panels or solar shingles will never be a money loss but there is a high initial cost for solar panel installation.  Over a 30-50 year period, you will definitely see a return on your investment since your electricity costs will significantly decrease.  Even if you plan to sell your house within the next few years, you may be able to increase the value by adding solar panels or solar roofing.   

Solar panels have a long lifespan and require minimal maintenance, so the highest cost incurred is typically the initial payout.  Don’t forget that as it helps to live in a sunny area where there is actually adequate solar power available.  While Canada sees a lot less sun than most other countries closer to the equator, we do have our fair share of sunny days.  For Alberta specifically, we are fortunate to be one of the “sunnier” provinces, with an average of 1276 hours of sunlight each year.  We are actually the second sunniest province in Canada, coming second to only the “Land of the Living Skies,” our neighbour, Saskatchewan.  

Before pulling the trigger on purchasing a new solar system, figure out how long it will take you to pay it off.  As a rule, if you can pay everything off within 10 years, then it is an investment worth considering.  As new solar technology develops, efficiencies increase and prices decrease, so if the 10-year plan is not affordable for you, we recommend waiting a little bit longer to see what technology has in store for us.  If you’re able to pay it off in that timeframe, then you’ll be able to reap the rewards of a cost-effective energy system!

If you are interested in solar upgrades, check out these Government incentives to see if you qualify, or read our full article here.

 

Thinking about making some upgrades to your roof? Call us today!