Fly into any city and you will see a patchwork of rooftops that remain mostly unused. When you consider the fact that these sites receive more sunshine than the streets below, you realize that you are looking at the most ideal urban solar real estate money could buy. So why isn’t everyone rushing to install solar panels on their rooftops? Despite the dramatic drop in solar panel prices of late, the installation of solar PV systems remains beyond the means of many building owners. Now rooftop solar leasing offers you another option.
What is FIT and microFIT?
The FIT and microFIT programs are an initiative by the Ontario government to encourage home and business owners to install solar systems and sell their power to the grid. This means that building owners pay the same rates they always have, but sell their solar power to their local power company at a premium. To date, 2 500 medium to large FIT installations, and over 11 000 microFIT solar panel systems have been installed, supplying enough energy to the grid to power about 12 million homes. The microFIT and FIT programs will have created about 50 000 local jobs by the end of 2012.
A microFIT installation is a 10kWh solar system that is installed on your roof while FIT installations are bigger and can be free-standing. The power from the system is converted from DC power to AC power and then sent to the grid. The systems are safe and maintenance and installation of the system is handled by your solar panel installer.
Put Sun Money in your pocket
Whether you have a home, business or public institution, your roof may be in a prime spot for a solar installation. If you don’t have the capital or don’t wish to invest in a solar system yourself, you can rent your valuable roof space to a solar installation company. You can put ‘Sun Money’ in your pocket without lifting a finger or paying a cent.
Contact your local solar installation company if you are interested in leasing your roof. Solarline Power is a Toronto-based solar installation company. They are able to ascertain whether your home or business is suitable for a solar panel installation using satellite imaging.
How it works
If your roof is not shaded by other buildings and trees, is in good condition and is suitably oriented for a solar panel installation, the solar leasing company will start the process of applying to the Ontario government to receive a provisional license that will enable your solar panel installer to set up the system on your roof. Once a provisional acceptance notice has been received, the solar installer will set up the PV system on your roof. After inspections, the system will be hooked up to the local power supplier and your home or business will be supplying the grid with power.
The process of application is quite lengthy and complex, but if you are leasing your roof and have a good solar panel installer, they should take care of the paperwork for you. Once your system has been installed, you can begin to make Sun Money.
There are a number of contract options available to the prospective roof leaser. Contracts generally last for 20 years and add value to the property. The options available depend largely on your solar panel installer, but generally they include a monthly percentage of the income your roof generates, a large upfront once-off payment or a partnership where both you and the solar installer cover installation fees. Whatever you decide, making energy you can be proud of while adding significantly to your coffers with relatively little input on your behalf is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you would be remiss not to take advantage of.
This week we look at two brews which use their heads by utilizing solar power to bring you your favourite beverages.
There’s nothing better than relaxing with a nice cold beer? Wrong! Not when you can relax with a nice cold solar powered beer. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company owns one of the largest solar powered systems in the U.S. Since 2008, this innovative brewery has been putting sunshine in your mug. The brewery’s solar power system consists of two solar arrays. The first is an array of 6 700 Mitsubishi, 185 watt lead-free panels which utilize the brewery’s ample roof space to produce 1.4 MW of AC power. This system is coupled with an additional 2000 SunPower, 220 watt solar panels. This array avails itself of an intelligent tracking system that angles solar panels to receive the most daylight. This increases output by up to 30% and provides shaded parking for staff and customers. The system provides 892, 859 kWh per year. Sierra Nevada brews several varieties of beer it’s most popular being the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Brew number two is Solar Roast Coffee; the best coffee under the sun! Fair trade coffee is passé when compared to this feisty cuppa cooked up by brothers David and Michael Hartkop. The first coffee roaster was constructed from an old satellite dish and a colander and given the heady sobriquet Helios 1. It was made from 100 plastic mirrors and roasted one pound of coffee at a time. Subsequent models were more sophisticated and fruitful, but could not surmount the fact that Oregon has only three months of sunny weather a year. Meet Helios 3; this bad boy was constructed on a trailer, roasts five pounds of coffee at a time and folds up easily for transport to provide the general public with a cup o’ joe on the go.
Pueblo California was where the Helios 3 found its final resting place as the brothers Hartkop set up their first retail business. They now
use a solid wall of mirrors, mounted to the roof of their coffee shop to roast 30 pounds of beans in only 20 minutes. Solar Roast Coffee sales have soared and they have opened several retail outlets around the U.S. They also sell their beans on the Internet and are always looking for ways to improve their Helios. Remember; chicks dig it!