Saving with Solar in BC.
BC encourages its residents to use solar to reduce their power consumption. While the province enjoys clean generation from Hydro plants, the supply is limited. As needs grow province wide, expensive upgrades and new generation will be needed. BC Hydro would like customers to reduce power consumption, and considers self-generation from solar a key to their future.
Solar installations, whether on a residential roof, ground mounted on a acreage, or on commercial roofs, produce power for its owners at costs close to buying utility power now. If the power is not needed during the day, it can be exported back to your BC Hydro as part of their Net Metering program, for a credit. The customer then uses this credit against power used at night, or during the winter.
How does it work?
Electricity sent to the grid is banked and applied to your current month’s electricity consumption. Any excess electricity is carried over to the following month and applied against that month’s consumption. A credit appears on your monthly bill showing the net amount of electricity that has been banked. Your excess power should be used within the year; if not, at the end of 12 months on your net metering anniversary date you will receive a financial credit from BC Hydro.
What’s in it for BC customers?
- Control of current power costs: A solar system can produce 20 to 100% of the annual power needed to run a home. With the incentives the electricity off the roof it is close to the same as buying power from BC BHydro. Add future rate increase and the solar electricity gets cheaper every year.
- Lower Kilowatt Hour Costs – Typical BC Solar Systems will fix electricity costs at 8-9 cents per Kilowatt Hour (see the math below). That is based on the installed system costs divided by the production over the system life. Today, the Tier 2 rates in BC are 15 cents. Solar electricity is almost half of the cost of buying power from BC utilities – and every rate increase makes solar an even better deal!
- Investment: A solar system typically yields 5-10% rate of return on the cash invested. Since solar systems last 30 years or more, it’s like a long term GIC. Commercial customers can take advantage of Class 43.2 Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for an even better rate return.
- Empowerment: Now you are in control of your own power. Rising costs will not affect you in the same way. Plan for lower costs when you retire, and enhance the value of your property.
- Obtain the required electrical permits and building permits (where required) including approvals required under the bylaws of the city, town or municipality where the installation occurs.
- Apply to BC Hydro for a Net Metering Interconnection
- Install your renewable electricity generating equipment.
- Provide proof that your solar installation has passed inspection by BC Safety Authority, and sign the Net Metering Interconnection Agreement.
- BC Hydro will activate the backflow setting on your smart meter to log the power that you sent back to the utility, and your Net Metering Solar System is complete.