Q:

Where does using PV make sense?

A:

There are two situations where solar PV actually "makes sense".

The first is if you have a big lump of cash to invest and you consider an 8% to 9% annual return (before expenses) - guaranteed for 20 years - a good investment. (with today's interest rates it can sound attractive). Be aware that you are buying hardware, that is not liquid - ie; you cannot turn it back into cash easily. The market for homes with PV systems is completely unknown. Perhaps, like a home with a swimming pool, there will be people who want it - and people who don't.

The second situtation is where the solar  PV system is going to be installed where there currently is no electricity. It must be realized that solar electric systems are very expensive for the amount of energy they deliver, and they are not for people who are not technically minded - they are after all mini power-stations. Solar PV "makes sense" where it is not possible to easily get electricity off the grid - in other words where you are located some distance from a hydro line of a local utility. Examples of this are remote cabins/cottages, sailboats, recreational vehicles that park for extended periods in remote parks, telecommunications equipment located in remote areas.

You'll notice the word "remote" being used frequently when describing where PV makes sense. Solar PV does not make sense if you are looking for short term power replacement (ie: protection from short power outages - less than 2 days long).

It makes sense if you are a survivalist and are worried about the end of the world as we know it. It does not make sense if you are an environmentalist and are worried about the end of the world as we know it - there are other much more environmentally effective & friendly things to do with the money that would be invested in a solar PV system in Ontario.