Q:

How much money will I save/make by installing a PV system?

A:

There are two different answers to this question.

If your system is connected to the grid and you have a Micro-FIT contract with the OPA*, you could make as much as 29.4 cents per kilowatt hour you put into the grid. A 10 Kilowatt system (DC peak) will, on average, deliver about 11500 kilowatt hours a year, worth about $3,380 - before expenses.

If you choose not to, or can't get a contract with the IESO*, you can also be connected to the grid and just turn your electric meter backwards This is called "net metering". Turning your meter backwards can only happen when you are delivering more power from the PV panels than you are using - this will save you about 16 cents (May 2016) per kilowatt hour delivered. For a 10 kilowatt system this amounts to about $1,840 a year. An advantage of net metering is that you may have batteries - meaning you can store some electricity for use in the event that the grid power goes down. However, be aware that batteries are expensive and require maintenance.

Note: Be aware that the income earned by the solar system is taxable as income. Also, the preformance of the solar system will degrade over time - by at least 10% to 15% (depending upon the product used). There will be maintenance costs and insurance costs associated with the system. Typically you can expect the NET benefit to be in the 8% to 9% range over the 20 year term of the contract with the IESO*. A big unknown is what will the value of 20 year old PV system be when the contract expires.

* Indepedent Electricity System Operator