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CBI SOLAR
Taking solar to new levels of savings and efficiency. Providing straight-forward, cost-effective solutions for you future. Because now is the time to save money, the environment and to invest in a brighter future with solar!

Solar Basics & FAQ

HOW SOLAR WORKS

 
How Grid-Tie Solar Works
  1. solar panels

Solar panels are made of highly conductive materials that absorb our free sunlight and convert it into clean, green electricity or direct current (DC).

2. solar inverter

A solar inverter converts the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). It takes what electricity is required to power your home and flows through your property’s wiring.

3. breaker panel & bi-directional meter

Using your existing electrical switchboard, a new bi-directional meter is installed. This utility device measures the flow of electricity and your meter will measure how much energy you are importing and exporting from the grid.

4. power grid

When your solar system generates more electricity than your household uses, the excess energy is exported to the grid, and spins your meter backwards, adding credit to your electricity bill. You are also able to draw energy from the grid when you need it.

 
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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOLAR QUESTIONS

IS SOLAR POWERFUL AND RELIABLE ENOUGH FOR MY HOME OR BUSINESS?

  • The sun is constant. It is more predictable and reliable than power plants which often experience outages hundreds of times yearly.

  • The sun is abundant. According to the World Energy Council,“Solar energy is the most abundant permanent energy resource on earth and it is available for use in its direct…the earth’s prime energy resource”.

  • Solar electricity first supplies your internal needs, and any excess is exported to the grid at your retail rate.

  • The panels can be tied into the grid making the system worry free.


    WHY GO SOLAR IN ALBERTA?

  • Alberta was ranked as being Canada's best province for solar power in 2019.

    Ref: energyhub.org

  • Alberta receives some of the highest sunlight levels. Alberta's sunny days mixed with cooler ambient temperatures creates optimal solar performance.

  • Alberta has relatively low installation costs compared to other areas and a high access to licensed installers (that’s us!)

  • Alberta possesses some of the best system financing available.

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WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF SOLAR?

  • Solar is a truly renewable source of unlimited energy, no more relying on non-renewable resources.

  • Producing solar power creates zero greenhouse gases.

  • Creates a sustainable future.

DOES SOLAR MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE?

  • Solar allows owners to reduce their energy bills by minimizing energy usage from the grid, and receive credits for sending excess power back to the grid.

  • Currently, property owners have no control over the electricity rate that utility company’s charge. Trends indicate that electricity rates will continue to rise.

  • Solar systems are now more affordable than they have ever been.

  • Solar power is an excellent long-term investment.


    DO I NEED BATTERIES FOR MY SOLAR PANELS?

  • Batteries are only required for off-grid applications. Grid-tie systems will typically utilize the electricity grid as it’s “battery”. Although, batteries can be added to a grid-tied system to act as a back-up in the event of a power outage.


    WHAT COMPONENTS DO I NEED TO INSTALL A GRID-TIE SOLAR SYSTEM?

  • We design our solar systems based on your needs. For a common grid-tie system, we install solar modules, inverters, or panel mounted micro-inverters. This will be accompanied by a bidirectional meter, installed by your wire service provider, which will record the energy imported from and exported to the grid. It is simply all tied into your breaker panel.

DO I NEED TO HAVE SOUTH-FACING EXPOSURE TO HAVE A SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM?

  • Although southern exposure increases the production of a solar system, sometimes it is not always possible and is certainly not necessary. By installing a slightly larger system in an East-West system, you can easily make up the exposure loss. We also have ground mounting options if a roof mount is not available for your application.

GRID-TIE OR OFF-GRID…WHICH SYSTEM IS RIGHT FOR ME?

  • Generally, if you are already tied to the grid, we recommend you stay tied to the grid. That tends to be the most cost-effective, and in some cases the only solution, as it may not be allowed for you to disconnect from the grid in your municipality

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL A SOLAR POWER SYSTEM ON MY APPLICATION?

  • Each solar installation is unique and we take the execution of detail very seriously. For residential systems, designing the perfect custom layout for your solar system may take up to a few weeks. However, the installation process itself can typically be completed in a few days, depending on the system scale and scope

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HOW MUCH MAINTENANCE DO SOLAR ENERGY PANELS REQUIRE?

  • For the most part, solar systems are worry-free and require minimal maintenance –Typically there's no need to remove snow or dust from the panels, but it is a good idea to take a look at them every once in a while just to make sure there isn’t anything that might be seriously affecting production.

    WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT SNOWS?

  • While snow cover will have an impact on your production, clearing it may not have as much of an impact on production as you would think. The months with snow, are also typically the months with the least amount of sunlight. Clearing the snow off might get you an extra 6% of production.

    This extra 6% may be required if you are off-grid, but for a grid-tied system it is up to each owner to decide if it is worth cleaning off the array. If your system is roof-mounted, we do not recommend cleaning off the snow, as this can be very dangerous.

    Ref: http://solaralberta.ca/content/alberta-solar-performance-data


    HOW CAN I CALCULATE THE COST AND PAYBACK TIME FROM A SOLAR POWER INSTALLATION?

  • We can do that for you for free! All we require is a few copies of your utility bills so we can better estimate current energy needs and costs and compare against your future anticipated use.

    WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT HAILS?

  • Solar modules are made with tempered glass that are tested and rated for 1” hail at 88 km/hr. Having the modules tilted also decreases the chances of having hail directly hit the module. In the rare event that hail does damage to your modules, and likely the rest of your house, this will be covered by your insurance.