Using Solar Energy Is Easier Than You Think…
At Mindscape we know solar energy better than almost anybody else. We’ve helped write programs for various governments, and have designed and helped install more systems than we can count.
Sometimes, there are reasons why our clients do not want to install solar panels, but they want to have the option to install them in the future. They want to be “Solar Ready”, but are not ready to invest in panels.
What is “Solar Ready”?
Before installing solar panels, below are some simple measures to make the building “solar ready”:
- A portion of the roof that can see the sun: anything between +/- 90 degrees from south is fine (including a flat roof), but there must be no large trees or nearby buildings directly south of your building.
- A way to get wires or plumbing from the roof down to the mechanical equipment. For a home, this may be as simple as a 4″ empty pipe (like a vent stack) that runs from inside the attic down to somewhere near the electrical panel and hot water tank. For an office or industrial plant, a larger pipe may be needed.
- A plumbing rough-in like the residential example shown in the photo here, which makes it easy to add a solar hot-water tank in the future without having to shut-off the building’s water supply.
- Stickers on the rough-ins and electrical panel to show where future solar connections would go.
- A drawing made and left for any future building owner that clearly shows where solar panels should be installed (e.g.: dotted lines on a roof drawing).
When these are completed, we work with our clients to provide an independent third-party inspection, and then provide “Solar Ready” plaques to help label the building and demonstrate that it has been third party verified, and is indeed ready for the future installation of solar panels. These plaques look especially nice when installed beside other plaques for programs like ENERGY STAR, LEED, or GREEN SEAL® by Built Green Canada!
Where can I Find More Information?
The Canadian Government supports solar energy, and provides useful guidance on how to design solar systems and integrate them into your building:
- Natural Resources Canada: Solar Ready Guidelines
- Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation: Solar Energy for Buildings
There are various provincial programs to help encourage solar energy:
- All: Net-metering
- Ontario:FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)
- Nova Scotia: Community FIT and Solar Equipment incentives
- British Columbia: Standing Offer Program
- Manitoba: Solar Water Heater rebate
There are also several associations to help you plan and deliver solar energy projects:
- Canadian Solar Industries Association
- Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
- Solar BC
- Solar Nova Scotia
Last but not least, below are some of Mindscape’s resources:Wind & Solar FAQ Our Solar Services Brochure Our Solar Projects Page Contact Us to Discuss Your Solar Project!