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Ontario’s microFIT Program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar

The approval process after our application to the OPA microFIT program took 3 1/2 months;  in June, we heard that our application had been conditionally approved. By then, Mark had done a lot of research on solar technology and had narrowed our choice of suppliers down to a few companies. More discussion with companies both in California and Southern Ontario followed after we received word that we could go ahead with our project before Mark decided to go with a solar package from the R.E. Source Store in St. Thomas, Ontario. We have had the solar panels sitting in our garage since they were delivered at the end of July, waiting to be installed,  which was why it was particularly difficult to learn that those panels had to be returned to the factory in southern Ontario last week, after the electrical inspector noticed that no CSA stickers had been applied at the warehouse before shipping them to us. These stickers indicate that the panels meet Canadian safety standards. Some other options for getting the CSA stickers were discussed, including shipping the stickers out to us so we could apply them, or (when that failed to meet the inspector’s approval) the possibility of Dave, the distributor from whom we bought the panels, flying up and applying them himself. That, too, didn’t pass muster with our inspector, so in the end the manufacturer had to ship up a whole new batch of panels and take back the first ones.

The second set of panels arrived on Wednesday of last week. Mark had done all of the prep work on the roof, installing the rails and doing the wiring. Once the inspector approved this on Thursday the installation of the panels could begin.  We started by hauling the panels up on the roof (and when I say “we”  I should clarify that Mark did the majority of the carrying, being the bigger and stronger one, but I was still very much a part of the process. It would have been very difficult for one person to do on their own). The 21 panels on the upper roof were installed first, then the 12 lower ones. And I should add that installing these, particularly the ones  nearest the edge of the roof, is not for the faint of heart!

If you’re interested in seeing how much power we are generating, in real-time, check out our Enphase Energy page – it updates the information every fifteen minutes, and also graphs our output by the day, week, and month:

What We Have Learned From Our Experience So Far:

1. Apply early if you are hoping to be part of the Ontario microFIT program – it took us 3 1/2 months after we applied to receive our conditional approval. Even if you are not sure of the final size of your solar array, fill out the application with your best guess. It is easier to change the size of your project once you have been approved, as long as it is still 10 kW or smaller, than to speed up the approval process.

2. Hire professional installers, unless you have a LOT more time than money, and only if you have some electrical know-how. We went the do-it-yourself route because there was no local installer, and because Mark is a hands-on kind of guy who was interested in learning the process. He does have a background in carpentry and has done a fair bit of electrical wiring.

3. If you are doing it yourself, speak to your electrical inspector early as you will need an electrical permit. Also check with your local building inspector as you may need a building permit, depending on the size of your project and where you live, as it may differ between municipalities.

4. If you are planning to be part of the Ontario microFIT program, make sure that you meet the  domestic content requirements as outlined on the OPA microFIT website. In 2011, the program requires that 60% of your materials and installation be considered Ontario-based.  Read the guidelines on the OPA website.

Panels are on!

As of October 17, 2010, all of the panels are installed but we are not yet hooked up to the grid. More details will follow as that final part of the project is completed.

To view more pictures, click here.

And here’s a video of us installing the last panel:

  1. Darryl permalink
    2010/10/20 10:35 am

    Hi Guys,

    I came across your article. You did a great job installing the panels. As you can guess, I am thinking about installing panels too. The first thing that I’m sure everyone asks is how much does it cost and what do you expect to make yearly? Do you mind sharing that with me?


  2. Christine permalink*
    2010/10/20 5:10 pm

    The total project cost is around $40,000, and the pay off we estimate to be between $5,000 – $ 6,000/year.

  3. Faisal permalink
    2010/11/15 10:30 pm


    It is great to see your project. I do have couple of questions.

    First what is the wattage per panel and what is the total wattage. Is it 5kw or more?

    Second I don’t have funds to do it right away but I do would like to get the permit approved for future if possible. Do you have any information about it, that if I apply right away, would I be able to atleast qualify for current terms and condition?
    Someone told me that the application can be approved and the expiry for the approved application is 3 years, in other means, that the project can be started in 3 years from the day of approval.

    The only reason I would like to get the 2010 application status is for the 40% domestic content instead of 60% in 2011 onwards.



  4. Christine permalink*
    2010/11/15 11:03 pm

    Hi Faisal –

    Our total wattage overall is 7.5 kW, divided between 33 panels; that’s 230 W per panel.

    And no, Mark (who has done the research on microFIT) tells me that the system has to be up and running before January 1st to be exempt from the changes coming in 2011. For example, our system is not yet hooked up to the grid (!!) so if it’s not hooked up and running by the end of 2010 we’d have to meet the new criteria.
    So, the bad news is, even if you apply now, you will still need to meet the 2011 criteria (and it takes several months to get approved, so even if you apply now you won’t get your approval before 2011). However, the good news is that there are more and more Ontario manufacturers getting involved in the solar industry because of this incentive.
    Good luck!
    A good way of looking at the investment required is that it’s like an RRSP, except that you are guaranteed a very good rate of return once you have paid off your initial investment. You won’t find an RRSP that pays as well as microFIT!

  5. Dave G permalink
    2011/01/21 8:50 am

    Where (or whom) did you purchase your panels/system from? Were they helpful with installation instructions?

  6. Christine permalink*
    2011/01/21 9:22 am

    Hi Dave –

    We purchased our panels through the R.E. Source Store in St Thomas Ontario (there’s a link to their website in the first paragraph).

    My husband who installed our panels doesn’t recommend doing it yourself – the panels did not come with clear instructions, and while Dave at the R.E.Source Store was happy to help when he could, he himself had never installed any panels so we had to do a LOT of internet research trying to piece together the best way to go about the installation. And my husband has worked as a carpenter and home renovator in the past, so he brought that experience to the installation. So, unless you have no other choice, our recommendation is to work with an installer with experience (which can be difficult to find, in these early days of renewable energy roll out).

  7. 2011/03/16 11:15 am

    So cool that you installed it yourself, but you’re I can imagine it was a ton of work. We have a working system on our roof in Toronto for the past year, and we have full power production graphs on our website:

    You can see that the snow is not a good thing, but overall for the year, our production numbers are quite good, about 1170 kwh per installed kw of capacity, or higher. For our small sized array (3 kw) that translates to just under $3,000 for the year under the microFIT program.

    So you *can* get good results with this technology in Ontario, and make money at it!


  8. Christine permalink*
    2011/03/17 11:31 am

    Great website, Julian, thanks for sharing. You’re absolutely right, it’s a great investment.
    After our experience, though, with all the extra charges from Hydro One, we believe that the best philosophy to have if you’re participating in the microFIT program is “go big or go home” because the Hydro One charges are the same, no matter what size of array you are putting up. For example, we get charged every month a small fee just for having a second meter.

    • 2011/03/19 7:04 pm

      Looks like a great system, I am also looking at a rooftop system on about a 4/12 pitch roof and I am concerned about the snow staying on and not letting the sun through to make energy. How has yours been through this winter?

      • Mark permalink
        2011/03/20 9:12 am

        Hi CJ,
        Our system has had snow on it since December (though I’ve gone up a few times and swept it off with a broom on a long pole). We’re in Ontario’s “farther north” near the Manitoba border so we get a fairly long winter. A 4/12 pitched roof is not steep enough for the snow to slide off automatically. On the other hand, the months that we normally have snow on the roof are also the months when the level of solar radiation is at its lowest. I expect to make 80-90% of my power during the warmer months with longer days and more intense sunlight so I’m not too worried about the snow. Good luck with your project.

  9. Raafat permalink
    2011/09/12 3:44 pm

    Great site guys. What is the range revenue so far…..

  10. Jev permalink
    2011/10/09 12:53 pm

    Hi Christine,

    Do you know anything about whether do it yourself solar panels are eligible for the microfit program. We do not have that initial investment to put out right now, but this is definitely the way we want to go. I have done a lot of research on the internet and the do it yourself programs seem to have come a long way. Do you have any input on this issue?

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/10/09 2:04 pm

      Jev – at this point, because the Ontario govt wants to stimulate jobs through the FIT program, they are only approving solar panels that have been manufactured in Ontario (there’s a certain % of Ontario-made content that they look for). Now, if you can prove that the appropriate percentage of the material that you use to produce your panels is made here, you might have a chance. But our experience is that it’s a bureaucratic nightmare right now, so you will need persistence as well as luck to get an answer out of anybody at OPA!

    • Brian permalink
      2012/10/31 2:05 pm

      In case anyone else is looking at the idea of the do-it yourself panels, just be careful who you are buying your info from. The company power4home that advertises “do it yourself” solar panels using the tag lines “power companies fear this!” is a known rip-off and only selling you instructions on how to make the panels yourself.

  11. 2011/10/18 10:33 pm

    Excellent job and installation guys !

    Just a quick note to anyone who may want to explore options for southern Ontario installations I can be contacted at . Website is ..

    The microFIT program is an amazing opportunity for those looking to take part in a green initiative and generate profit while doing so.

    Great job guys !

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/10/19 9:52 am

      Thanks for dropping by, Chris, and good luck with the microfit installations.

  12. 2011/11/18 5:58 pm

    Hi Mark and Christine,
    Great job on the install and general description of the issues surrounding it. I understand your frustration at the Canadian certification labelling issue. We certainly worked very hard to solve that issue as quickly and efficiently as possible for you. Regarding one comment about support for your installation, I have to clarify this issue for you and anyone else who may read this information. First off, we have installed many solar systems over the years, but stopped in 2007 when changes were made to the Ontario electrical code prohibiting non-electricians from pulling permits and doing electrical work for others.
    More important to those wishing to self install is the fact that resellers can’t offer technical support beyond presenting what information is provided by the manufacturers of the equipment. We aren’t entitled or insured to provide that kind of service. However, engineers and planners can tell you what they need to see, and the ESA can be called in for a visit prior to the installation to discuss your concerns and provide guidance. Self installers need to know who to call, and when.

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/11/18 7:54 pm

      Hi David –
      Thanks for dropping by, and for adding your perspective. So far, 2011 has been a great year for generating solar power!

  13. Wig permalink
    2011/12/04 8:31 pm

    I notice you didn’t use weebs to bond your panels to the rails(usually inserted at the rail clamps, between the rail and panel).
    Did this come up during ESA inspection?

  14. Jeff Hay permalink
    2011/12/11 7:16 pm

    Hello, I am thinking of having a sky tracker installed at my property in Port Stanley, On. So far what I have come up with for a cost of this project is in an around the $ 80k mark. Im new to this and want to make sure I cover my ass if I invest. I just had a fellow from Certified Solar come to my home in London, Ont. yesterday and he has told me that I can collect $1,000.00 upto $2,000.00 per month. To me this sounded too good to be true. What are your thoughts ? Do you think this is achievable ?

    • 2013/04/05 4:59 pm

      Hi Jeff,
      Our advisor must have forgotten to leave our “Sounds to Good to be True” sheet. Here’s an online copy for you:

      Click to access SoundsTooGoodToBeTrue.pdf

      If you have any queries, please call on 416-315-0837.

    • 2013/04/05 5:06 pm

      It would depend on the size of your roof and your array, Jeff. I would be very surprised if you make that sort of income, though – the FIT rate has gone down since we installed ours, although we don’t have the largest installation possible – ours is 7KW, and the largest allowed under the microfit program is 10 KW – we make closer to $5,000 in a YEAR. And northwestern Ontario is rated better than southern ON for solar. On the other hand, maybe the sky tracker makes a big difference, I’m not sure.
      Good luck, whatever you decide.

  15. 2012/02/26 10:19 am

    Very interesting blogs. We are a company based in Waterloo and service all of Ontario. With our 30 years experience, we would be pleased to provide advice and guidance on your solar projects…NO COST…NO COMMITMENTS…If you buy from us. all the better but give me a chance to get you off on the right foot with your solar projects. Check out our website at or email me at for further information. It never hurts nor does it cost to ask me a question (or 5)

  16. Pat Lewis permalink
    2012/03/19 11:27 am

    There is no company who has 30 years of experience in this industry at all. The microFIT program is only 2 years in Ontario and it is stalled right now because the government won’t sign on the “dotted line for the rates” – it is merely a political move. But the upcoming deadline of April 14th, 2012 has to be met for this first round of requirements. If you wish to have good sound information about the microFIT program as it stands right now – contact me and I will put you through to a trusted company who has been a part of the microFIT program and the correct registration process since day one. Getting attached to the grid is a specific process – and if you assume you are talking to a qualified person who says he can do it; make sure you shop around. Too many people are tied up because their applications are denied due to ‘wrong information’.

    • 2012/06/17 11:39 am

      Actually I do have over 40 years experience in the wind and solar industry, starting in 1970’s. True enough microFIT is new but I have been doing off-grid systemss, system design, standard offer contracts , research and development along with retail sales in both wind and solar ever since the early 70’s…..Very few people have the background experience that I can offer with my 4 decades of invoolvement in renewable energy sources….Bob

      • Bobs your uncle permalink
        2013/01/09 4:34 pm

        Yyeeahh ssuuree Bboobb

    • 2013/03/09 4:41 pm

      You do the math. I have been involved in the PV business since 1982. We have more than 45,000 PV systems deployed in over 60 countries. In addition to Canada, I have travelled to 52 countries on PV business. In 1983 we installed a 3kW grid-tied PV system at Ontario Place, Toronto which was just recently removed as they begin redevelopment of the waterfront.
      Very few people were aware of PV prior to the Green Energy Act -doesn’t mean there were not people designing and deploying systems throughout the country. and

      • 2013/03/10 8:52 am

        Hi Eric – you seem to be saying that The Green Energy has been good for the PV business, in that’s increased its profile among many Ontarians. That must be good for business!

  17. Rob permalink
    2013/03/18 12:18 pm

    never trust certified solar.
    they ripped us off $30,000.00 and never installed anything.
    I have documented proof.
    If you are interested let me know I will send.

    • 2013/03/28 7:40 pm

      Rob – please provide more information or I will need to delete your comment, or ask the installer to respond. Your comment isn’t substantiated at this point at all.

      • 2013/06/05 7:23 pm

        I read an article about this. Sad story. Check references first. Some good companies are out there, but a lot of bad ones. Microfit is a tough business these days and a lot of people are cutting corners. For those interested, here is a link for LIVE solar monitoring, and for the moderator, if you wish to add live solar systems to your site for reference to people. I have over 40 systems with links to tigo, enphase and solaredge. our live monitoring site is: I sincerely hope this will help people make a decision to go solar.

  18. Dene permalink
    2013/03/28 7:02 pm

    Are you saying that $30,000 just went into thin air or did you get it back eventually?

    • 2013/03/28 7:42 pm

      Dene, as customers we had found the R.E.Source store to be responsive and responsible.

  19. 2013/06/05 7:17 pm

    Hey guys, solar has dropped in price again. Here is a coupon for a 10 kW solar installed system for less than $3/watt. It ends on June 14 2013 though

  20. Cindy permalink
    2013/08/12 5:21 am

    Can anyone tell me about the tax implications of the Microfit program including impact on property tax? I’m in Ontario.

    • 2013/08/12 11:34 am

      You should call your Municipal office to find out the details re: property tax.
      As for income tax, you can claim all of your initial costs, and ongoing costs like the monthly meter fee from Hydro One ($7.00/month) against the monthly income received from the microFIT program, so it will be several years before this would be added to your income.

      • 2014/05/28 9:43 pm

        I have read all the comments from your blog. Question for you. You say “As for income tax, you can claim all of your initial costs, and ongoing costs like the monthly meter fee from Hydro One ($7.00/month) against the monthly income received from the microFIT program, so it will be several years before this would be added to your income”. I am curious how exactly one can do that? thank you and have a GRRRRRRRRRRREAT day! …Owen

  21. Sasha permalink
    2013/09/06 3:19 pm

    I actually worked for Hydro One on this MicroFit program. I created contracts for the MicroFit program and found the frustration stems mostly from the lack of information provided from Hydro One in terms of realistic expectations. I am glad eventually you had the project approved an up an running as there were a lot more individuals that had a longer wait time for a 10kW project or less. It definitely does not run as smooth as initially stated however, I think from an employee’s perspective there is a lot of politics behind the scenes and not enough communication to the public from Hydro One.

    • 2013/09/08 10:09 am

      Thanks for your insider’s perspective, Sasha. Any insights into working with the system are helpful and appreciated!

  22. Darrin permalink
    2013/09/13 3:11 pm


    I was hoping maybe you could give me some insight on the company : They contacted us and want to put a 500kw solar farm on the edge of our property. Apparently it takes up to 5 acres.

    From the link above you can see that they pay $5000/yr lease. Just wondering if it is feasible for us to do our own solar farm (we have the land, a severed 32 acre lot that is pretty flat and little to no trees) and about $120,000 to put into it. We could get more money if needed.). Anyone have experience with a solar farm this size?



    Any information would be great.

    • 2013/09/19 2:05 pm

      Well, you might want to compare what you will be getting from the company ($5000/yr hassle free) with what you would make with your own solar installation. Industrial size installations get paid less than smaller, home-owner ones (I believe the cut off is 10 KW). Here’s the link to the Hydro One website.

      With $120,000 to invest, you could have a good sized solar setup, and (as my husband likes to say) it’s a guaranteed return for 20 yrs, unlike the stock market these days. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

  23. tom permalink
    2013/09/25 10:29 am

    Hi Christine, great site and info. i was looking at your link for POLLE power, and was wondering (sorry if this has been asked before) how close you are coming to producing the claimed output power. Are you satisfied with the power output and have you reached that payback goal? Unfortuanately it looks like the new rate if I go in now is only just under 40 cents, far cry from the 80 cents at the start of microfit.

    • 2013/09/25 11:36 am

      Hi Tom –
      Thanks for checking out our link. Yes, we are very pleased with the power output so far, and are right on track (perhaps even a bit ahead) of our payback goal of 5 – 6 years. While, as you note, the new rate is significantly lower, so is the price of solar panels. That’s been dropping exponentially. So if you make the (now significantly lower) investment in solar panels, your payback time should be right around what our’s is expected to be. Good luck!

  24. Fred Forester permalink
    2014/01/14 8:39 am

    Hello Christine,
    I have very much enjoyed reading your site. There is one area that surprisingly did not seem to come up. The “guaranteed” return over the 20 year period. Twenty years is a long time period especially in the current economic climate. The fact that the government can and has made significant changes when the going gets tough might be a real concern here. Perhaps anyone like myself considering an installation should at least stop to consider the “what if” scenario. Any thoughts on this?

    • 2014/01/17 9:43 am

      Hey guys , and gals.

      Micro fit program does have a time line. The rate of return reduces each quarter of every year. When you lock in at a certain per kilowatt rate you will have that rate for 20 years, so don’t worry about it 🙂 after the 20 years the technology is still 92 percent efficient. At this point you will have the option of doing net metering. ( google net metering if you need a little more education on that ) ultimate goal of this program is to eliminate hydro bills all together for home owners. If your solar system produces more energy , then your house consumes , you net out power. Hence the term ” net metering “. At this point the ldc ( power company) will not charge you do your hydro use , but pay you for your “net ” contribution. ( but it won’t be at these rates , more likely .5 cents a kilowatt ) I have significant knowledge in this program and help people find solar solutions as long term investments.

      Solar is a very lucrative business at this point with higher and safer returns then any mutual fund or bond. You can see as high as 17 percent roi ( return on investment ) if you decide to have a professional install the system for your home. I am a DIY kinda guy but I realize the dangers and complications including rules of the program that come with doing it yourself .

      Hope this helps a bunch of people. Feel free to contact me personally. Contact PURE Energies toronto office and ask to speak to Brad or the Pilgrim. They will know who to send you to. Cheers everyone.

      • 2014/01/18 10:04 am

        I’m surprised to hear that the point of the Ontario FIT is to eliminate hydro bills. In fact, we have two meters on our house, one that measures our hydro use and one that measures the output of our solar panels. We are billed at a much lower rate for our use that we are paid for our hydro generation. So net metering doesn’t make sense.
        I understood that the Ontario govt put the FIT and microFIT program in place because they wanted to generate small renewable energy projects throughout the province.

    • 2014/01/18 9:55 am

      Hi Fred –
      Re: 20 year contract with the provincial government: I guess everything in the end is uncertain, but a contract with the govt of Ontario is a pretty good bet. Like all contracts, it will stand up in a court of law but the odds of the Ontario govt defaulting is pretty low.

      • 2014/01/18 6:10 pm

        Christine. I would Strongly recommend you checking your information before advising people. And in response to your comment on my post just above,If you read the comment, you would realize that net metering is what your already doing , except right now , we are being paid a premium rate for production. When it’s not feasible to pay that anymore an grid parody is met , then we will enter net metering to continue benifiting home owners who have solar systems.

        Feel free to email me directly. I can be found at

      • 2014/01/20 10:02 am

        I can only speak from my experience, Brad, that is as someone who has been part of the Ontario microfit program for 3 years. And I can tell you we DO NOT have net metering. Net metering is when your use is subtracted from what you produce, and you are paid (or you pay, depending on the ratio) the difference. THAT IS NOT WHAT WE DO, nor have you offered any evidence that Hydro One is changing the way it is administering the FIT/microFIT program. If you have evidence that Ontario is moving to a one meter rather than two meter system, then I will correct my info. Saying “when it’s not feasible to pay that anymore” isn’t evidence. Until then, I have more evidence than you – our microFIT solar array, and two meters.

    • 2014/06/03 9:24 pm

      Hello Fred,
      I work in the Solar industry with Solar Brokers Canada. I come across your question a lot. The reality is you will buy solar panels anyway in the future, our infrastructure is aging and the government have been very clear about the costs of energy rising. The current Micro FIT contracts offer you 39.6c per kWh the ROI right now is about 10-15% if you are lucky enough to get a contract it is as secure as a GIC. The contract is in your favour, you can cancel it 9should you want to net meter) and 3rd party it if you sell. Once you really understand it and all the options and tax benefits available you’ll get one and join the rest of “sun worshipers” enjoying the benefits. Let me know if you want a feasibilty study doing on your house.

  25. Rebekah permalink
    2014/01/25 1:14 pm

    I’m concerned about the long time frame of the microFIT contract in that predictions are swirling that electricity rates are going to rise dramatically. Now that they’ve lowered the microFIT payout rate, I’m worried that electricity purchase rates will catch up or surpass this within the 20 year contract. Is there a provision for this scenario in the contract? Does anyone have insight on this?

    Thanks to everyone for sharing in this discussion.

    • 2014/02/03 9:34 am

      Hi Rebekah –
      Those are two different beasts that you are discussing. One is the electricity rates that households in Ontario pay for the hydro we receive from the grid. The second is the rate that a household gets paid for the energy generated by a microFIT project. Remember, there are two different meters. The rate of the microFIT contracts has been lowered, but that’s because the cost of putting up a solar array has dropped. The rate we are being paid will pay off our initial investment in about 4 – 5 years; that’s true for the new lower rate, too, as the cost of solar has dropped.
      One way of looking at putting up a microFIT project is that it’s an investment, like an RRSP, only you are guaranteed a much better rate of return in 20 years that any RRSP you can get these days. If you invested $30,000 in an RRSP, and your hydro rates go up, you will still have a return on your investment, right? The same is true of investing money into a microFIT project. Hydro rates may or may not go up, but you are still guaranteed money back according to the contract you signed with the govt of Ontario.
      If you are really concerned about hydro rates going up, you might want to look into going off grid entirely, as then you won’t be affected by changes in what Hydro One charges. But you also won’t be part of any microFIT contract, because that requires that you are connected to the grid.
      Good luck!

    • 2014/06/03 9:27 pm

      You can cancel the contract at anytime. It is in your favour. The increases in electricity over the next few years will force your hand in buying and offsetting that cost in the future anyway, why not get a system that the government is paying for, and giving you a nice revenue as well.

  26. Sam permalink
    2014/02/06 3:08 pm

    Hi Christine
    absolutely love this blog as a useful info sharing tool. your video has inspired us (young couple) to hook up with Microfit program. I understand that they changed the requirement as of august 2013 from 60% domestic to 22%. this is the link:
    which helps with fulfilling the requirements. just do you know if there is any deadline for the whole process? like from the time of application/approve to grid and panel hookup to hydro? thanks again.

    • 2014/02/08 8:21 am

      Hi Sam –
      Happy to know that you’ve been inspired to participate in greening our province’s energy by setting up a microFIT project. It should be even easier to access a solar panel system, now that the domestic requirements have been lowered. I’m not sure about the deadline – it isn’t a quick process – but my advice is that if you are considering doing it, even if you haven’t nailed down all the details, put in your application NOW. You can always change your mind, but getting the application into the system sooner rather than later is good. I understand that since we installed our system there has been a huge surge of interest in the program so it can take months to hear back from Hydro One. So fill out the application today!

  27. Solarcrazy permalink
    2014/02/19 1:59 pm

    Great insight on this project Christine. I am also considering this option on the new home i purchased my home is north/south so we have great exposure to the sun for full day. My only concern is even though there is warranty what if panel or panels break because of who knows some one throwing stone at it (quite possible ) who would cover that. I know it sounds like crazy but it could happen.

    • 2014/02/19 7:36 pm

      I’m not sure what to say, as that has never happened to us. I suppose everything comes with some risk.
      We have had a few of the microinverters stop working but the company has been very good about replacing them. (BTW, their failure may be due to the extreme cold that we experience in Northern Ontario rather than a manufacturer’s defect).

    • 2014/06/03 9:31 pm

      The panels we use have been tested at a 3rd Party testing facility. They come with a 25 year warranty, and will not break if you throw a stone at it, or if a grown man stands on a panel, or a hailstone travelling at 80 miles an hour. Panels are not new technology they were created in 1950. They are non mechanical and very simple in their nature. You can also get a 3rd party insurance on the performance of your panel. Anyway the long and short is we can do it all and answer all your questions. Let me know if you would like a free feasibility study done.
      Good luck!

  28. Cathy Dawson permalink
    2014/02/21 10:11 am

    Hi I do not mean to sound ‘simple’, but is the implication that you erase your own hydro costs and in addition make a meagre profit or do you continue to pay for your own hydro bills and selling to the grid?

    • 2014/02/21 10:41 am

      There’s no such thing as asking a wrong question Cathy! We have the two meters, one which records our hydro use and the other which records the electricity generated by our solar panels. We continue to pay for our hydro bills, at the going provincial rate, and are compensated by Hydro One for the electricity we generate at a higher rate (the one guaranteed by our 20-year contract with them).

  29. Janet Craig permalink
    2014/02/23 10:01 am

    Hi, I found your site only because we were going to install a system on the garage which would have cost about $35, 000 but backed off due to my husband’s health. Then I have been contacted about “free solar” which is basically “rent my roof”. I guess someone saw our application to Ontario Power Authority. So I been trying to research this but one thing I did notice with a neighbour he is constantly on his garage roof to clear snow, which we could not do. As well I have to check out the documents as to the rate paid back to us, resale implications, who pays for building permits, legal fees, maintenance, bottom line is it worth it? We are retired and my husband is not well but we have a huge garage roof in the sun. I was hoping to hopefully reduce our utility costs? Any information or sites I should look at would be appreciated.

    • 2014/02/24 12:23 am

      Hi Janet – I don’t know anything about the “rent a roof” contracts, but it wouldn’t hurt to discuss the options with the company that is offering it. I presume that the company who owns the panels will do much of the leg work, you will just be getting a monthly rental fee.
      In our case when we sell our house, the contract with Hydro One belongs to us so we can sell the contract to the new owner, or (theoretically) take off the panels and put them up on our new roof. But again in a “rent a roof” scenario I imagine it’s different, as it won’t be your contract with Hydro One.
      As for clearing snow off the panels, my husband did this the first year we had panels up but hasn’t since. Although they do get covered with snow, in northern Ontario where we live the long summer days are when the bulk of our power is generated anyway, so it’s not worth the bother for the few cents it would get us in winter.

  30. 2014/02/24 6:54 am

    Thanks so much. I guess the only glitch will be the sale of our property. We only get a percentage back the actual company that installs & maintains the panel gets the bulk. So I think I’ll apply and just see the actual documents from OPA.

  31. Maher permalink
    2014/07/09 7:27 am

    Hi, Do you think with today’s rate .396 make sense to go ahead with the microFIT program.

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • 2014/07/12 3:35 pm

      Yes, because the price of solar has dropped dramatically. Do your own number-crunching, but I suspect that the time it takes to pay-off the investment in solar panels even at this much lower rate is still 5 – 6 years, like it is for our’s at the much higher rate because our solar panels were so much more expensive.

  32. Rob permalink
    2014/07/12 5:37 pm

    I do not like the idea for a couple of reasons mainly
    A) If you plan to sell moving the system will make it unworthy and asking the new buyer to add the price makes your house less attractive
    B) winter months…. All the snow accumulation brings down the investment return. I will by no means get up on my roof and “clean” the panels to get a few more bucks. Basically you get min three dead months if not more weather dependent
    C) the 10% return all are pitching about is inaccurate because you loose the capital unlike other compatibles. It is immobile as I mentioned before. You can switch the investment. You are atuck dead. Not my cup of tea with all respect to opposing points of view. And as ever working with the government has its ifs.
    Cheers all and thx for reading my 2 cents and have a great summer

  33. marco permalink
    2014/11/19 10:40 am

    I was ripped off of over $30 000 from certified solar and they installed nothing. Good luck they are aholes.

    • 2014/11/19 11:06 am

      Your story sounds kind of questionable. If this was the case, you have a legal case against them, certainly in small claims court (which doesn’t incur the kind of legal cost that suing through the regular court system does). Perhaps you are a competitor trying to smear their name?

  34. Jeff permalink
    2015/01/25 7:33 pm

    I just wanted to share my story of how my microfit contract was terminated.

    A few years ago, I entered into my first microfit contract on my house in Norfolk County. I was very happy to be doing something for the environment, and making an investment at the same time. I was so happy with the program, that I decided to apply for another contract on a different property that I own in Brant County. After I applied, I was told that I was approved. The entire application process takes about 2-3 months and during this time, I was never told that there was a problem with my application. I went ahead and spent the money, had the panels installed, passed the electrical inspection and had them connected to the grid. I started receiving cheques for the second location for about a year and then I received the dreadful phone call. I was told by the OPA that I was only allowed to have 1 contract. I was completely unaware of this because when I read my first contract, it didn’t mention anything about a 1 contract limit. Also, on the OPA website there is a section that goes over the microfit “Rules” again, no mention of a limit of 1 contract per person. Yes I made a mistake by not reading the new contract before I filled out a second application, but I just assumed that all contracts were the same.
    My beef is that the OPA should have noticed, when I filled out the application, that all my contact information was the same as a previous application and should have been immediately flagged. Anyone who reads that their application is “approved” would assume that everything is going to work out fine. Not so.
    Anyway, I’m in the process of taking them to court, because I feel that it’s not fair to pay someone for a year, then say that the contract has been terminated. This would never happen in the private sector.
    I’ll keep you posted with my results.
    Thanks for your interest.

  35. 2015/01/26 8:19 pm

    Good luck!

  36. Brad permalink
    2015/03/06 3:45 pm

    Looks like you installed the panels with the panel junction box on the back on the low side, manufacturers recommend installing on the high side. Not sure if that will cause any issues with the junction box. Who is manufacturer of panels?

  37. Chris permalink
    2015/03/11 11:36 am

    I am looking for anyone who have had dealings with Solar Brokers of Canada. I am currently in the begginning stages with them and not sure if what to expect.
    Any information I can get before making any decisions would be greatly appreciated…

  38. 2015/03/30 5:32 am

    Great article !! The solar panels are also suitable for schools and places of worship.[3] The projects benefit home, farm or business owners by revenue generation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and approved applicants are guaranteed to receive revenue for twenty years.[4] The Green Energy Act aims to create 50,000 new green-collar jobs by 2012.

  39. Robin permalink
    2015/04/13 6:39 pm

    Glad you have this website up with comments and Q&A, saves me asking the same questions! We are planning on installing a 10kw system, mainly on a WSW roof. It took us 8 working days to get approval from IESO (which has now replaced OPA as far as approvals is concerned. On Friday 10th April 2015 we applied to our local distributor, Hydro One and I received an ‘offer to connect’ from them this morning, 13th April.- less than 2 working days!
    We are planning to use Ottawa Solar who are walking us through the steps etc. We live just outside Ottawa, the system cost (ex. HST) is about $31k with income of $4800/year.
    Does anyone have experience of how the shingles under the panels hold up? I’m told by a couple of companies they’ll never need placing and Ottawa Solar say that they should be good for at least another 30 years, the house is currently (April 2015) 4 years old.

    • 2015/04/13 9:48 pm

      How exciting – it’s good to hear that the bureaucracy has been greatly improved since our panels went up.

      We replaced our shingles just before putting up the panels, so we figure we’re good for a few more decades at least before we have to replace them. I don’t imagine either of our systems will outlast our shingles!
      Enjoy those monthly cheques – it’s a wonderful feeling to be generating power while going about a regular day’s activity.

  40. Eva Ankucza permalink
    2015/04/16 8:00 pm

    You did a good job! Congratulations! We are thinking of getting a few solar panels too, what I was wondering do you need a permit from the hydro if you don’t do the micro fit program?
    I know the inspector has to check it out but what other permit do you need?
    Enjoy your earning you deserve it!

    • 2015/04/17 5:11 am

      Hi Eva –
      I’m sure there’s much less bureaucracy if you aren’t part of the microFIT program but don’t know all the details. I’m pretty sure Hydro One doesn’t care if you are not planning to feed into the grid, but your local building official might. You might want to call up your local municipal office and have a chat with the building official. Good luck! (ps is there a reason you don’t want to feed back to the grid? According to Robin who commented a few days ago, it sounds like the whole process is being streamlined so you, too, could be getting a monthly cheque!)

  41. John permalink
    2015/04/21 10:58 am

    We were also scammed by Certified Solar. We gave them a cheque for almost $14,000.00 in 2012 and then never saw them again. Our utility company was ready for them to install the solar panels, but they didn’t do it. They have been stringing us along all this time and in January 2015 they stopped communicating with us. Since they would not do the job they were hired for all we would want is our money back which they refuse to do. Beware of the Simmons/O’Brien/Doyle names as they tend to defraud victims and then open new companies looking for new victims.

  42. Gilles permalink
    2015/05/03 10:44 pm

    How close to due south should the panels face? We’ve been approach/approved but the panels won’t be facing south.

    • 2015/05/14 7:27 am

      Our panels face about 15 degrees away from due south. I guess you have to work with the roof that you have – the closer to due south, the better.
      My husband suggests checking out; apparently they have a calculator you can use to help you figure out how the angle of your panels will affect their power production. Once you get into the calculator, you input your location and then adjust the azimuth angle.

  43. Gilles permalink
    2015/05/14 9:54 am

    Will do thanks for the link.

  44. Madison permalink
    2015/06/11 8:27 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I just came across this post, I work for a brokerage of solar companies. We find a solar company in your area that is offering what your looking for at the best price, as well as panels. For those of you concerned about the initial investment, we work with many financial institutions and can finance 100% of the project. There is also the free solar program where investors will pay for it for you and offer you an income over the contract term. And the panels are still yours to use after the contract to power your home! There is also a co-investment which allows you to buy out the system later but get connected now.

    For an inquires my name is Madison and I can be reached at 647-995-3334

  45. Robin permalink
    2015/06/30 1:10 pm

    Hi, I recently posted that our system installation and was to be installed asap. It’s now been up and generating for a couple of weeks but I wonder if anyone has any advice they can offer on setting up a HST account at CRA?
    I set up a business partnership through the CRA website but seemed to make an error in that I gave our system a name such as ‘Fred’s Solar Power’. I provided the business number / HST number from CRA to Hydro One but they were unable to ‘validate’ the number from CRA against my system seemingly because I named my system other than the legal name on my property deeds. I then set up a new partnership at CRA with a new legal and business operating name (which must be different) but basically just the names of myself and my wife per the deeds. I passed the new number to Hydro One who came back to me and say they still cannot validate the number! I thought the difficult part was getting the system approvals but that seems like it was a relative walk in the park!
    Any suggestions or similar experiences?

    Thanks 🙂

  46. Adam Mulville permalink
    2015/07/04 8:05 pm

    I own 177 acres that I would like to lease for solar.
    380 Mulville Road Westport Ontario K0G1X0.
    Main tower line running through my land.

    • 2015/07/16 9:15 am

      HI Adam – I suggest you check for solar companies in your region that are looking for acreage to lease. As I’m in Northern Ontario, and we aren’t leasing our array, I don’t have any expertise to share with you. But I’m sure there’s lots of information out there. Good luck!

  47. 2015/08/07 2:26 pm

    We’re documenting our 10kW microFIT project in the GTA (Whitby, ON) from decisions to (hopefully) generation. We just got our Offer to Connect. We found a lot of info dating back to 2011 where of process took much longer than it does now and had different complications — so we’re hoping to build on sites like this and update the info for 2015.

    The timeline is at:

    • 2015/08/07 2:49 pm

      Thanks for dropping by, and for the link. Good luck with your solar project!


  1. Going Solar In Ontario Canada – We’re Now A Power Generating Household « From the Editor's Desk
  2. Everyday Entrepreneurs and Ontario Canada’s MicroFIT program | Prescription For the Planet
  3. Solar Panel Installation Barnham Broom | Site
  4. Ontario’s microFIT Program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar | Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative Inc.
  5. Last Chance for MicroFIT | Ecology Ottawa

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