Solar Photovoltaics (PV)

What is "solar photovoltaics"?

Photovoltaic (PV) devices convert light directly into electricity. The key components of a PV system (array) are the modules (solar panels), the inverter (converts Direct Current to Alternating Current). Additional items such as storage batteries and charge controllers (control charging and discharging of storage batteries), need to be used in certain cases.

What is "net metering"?

Net Metering is a program BC Hydro offers to customers with their own clean electricity generating source (Solar Photovoltaics) to connect to the BC Hydro distribution system. When the system has generated more energy than required by the building, the excess is sold to BC Hydro and a credit is applied to the account.

What solar photovoltaic options are available?

Grid-Tie system is interconnected to the BC Hydro distribution system through the net metering program, and supplies the building’s electricity needs and sells extra energy to BC Hydro, thus eliminating or reducing your electricity bill.

Grid-Tie with Backup is also interconnected to the BC Hydro distribution system through the net metering program. It differs from the standard grid-tie system as it will supply energy during a power outage through a battery bank or an external source such as a generator.

Off-Grid systems are mostly used for cabins in remote locations where there is no connection to the electrical grid. The system is designed for each particular use, and has energy storage through a battery bank to ensure electricity at night or low levels of solar insolation.

How many solar panels do I need?

The size of the system will be determined by location, mounting method and the energy needs.

Electrical Energy Efficiency

How to select the right LED lamp?

  • Make sure it is an approved product for use in Canada.
  • Watts=Energy required to light the lamp.
  • Lumens=Light output of a lamp.
  • Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) =A measure of light colour in Kelvin.
  • Colour Rendering Index (CRI) =A rating of the lamps light on the colour appearance of objects on a scale of 0-100.
  • Also keep in mind the size of the base, and its use.  

What is "phantom loads"?

Also known as stand by, and vampire loads, are primarily electronic appliances which continue to consume power when not in use.

What is the "Energy Star" rating?

Indicates that a product meets or exceeds high efficiency standards, a certified product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy performance.

Electrical Vehicle (EV) Charging

How long will my EV take to charge?

Charging time is dependent on the size and state of charge of the battery, along with source of power, and the on-board charger.

What are the charging options?

Level 1 is through a standard 120 volt receptacle. Most EV come with a cord so no additional equipment is needed. Charging takes the greatest amount of time (up to 20 hours) compared to other options.

Level 2 can be supplied with a 240 volt or 208 volt circuit up to 80amps. An independent charger station is needed but in some cases certain outlets can be suffice. A perfect option for home or public charging, a complete charge can take place in approximately 4 hours.

Level 3 (DC fast charging) 480v is the fastest method of charging for most EV’s. The power requirements are greatly higher thus making it an ideal public fueling station, in approximately 20 mins the state of charge can be brought up to 80%.

Impact of EV charging on my bill?

Theoretically your electricity bill increases due to the additional load. A solution to counter this is by upgrading existing forms of lights, energy conservation practices, and a solar photovoltaic array (solar panels) which can completely offset your EV energy needs.

Will I have to upgrade my electrical connection to accommodate EV charging?

No, in majority of the cases an electrical service upgrade is not required, as we can install load management devices.