Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've gotten 2 emails in the last month from people who have installed solar panels, at great expense ($50K plus) and are getting screwed over by Hydro One.

One complaint was not getting hooked up after they bought and mounted their panels. The other was much more interesting. Seems Hydro One is not paying this person what they produce, but much less. Nearly 20% less Hydro One claims this person put into the grid compared to what their own monitoring control claims.

Both parties want to sue H1.

Problem is, their plight is not because of H1. It's because of the Liberal's, their Green Energy Act, and what the Liberals are doing in an attempt to keep the FIT program under control.

Apparently there are some 20,000 applications submitted to the government for solar FIT hookup. Assuming a modest $1000 per year these people would get for power, that's $20,000,000 per year from your pocket into the pockets of these solar owners.

These owners don't even pay more property taxes because of the panels even though it should increase their property value. Another gift from the Liberals.

I will be blunt. I have no sympathy with solar panel FIT people. Hey, if you want to have panels to supplement your own power, then go for it. But do not expect the rest of us to suffer high bills so they can retire on power income. The larger picture is more important than individuals getting screwed because of panels.

My goal is to get power rates back to affordable levels, and to provide power based on production methods that have a high Capacity Value. Capacity Value is the rate of output when demand is within 10% of peak (that value is set by the IESO). Solar and wind have zero Capacity Value hence my goal is to kill the FIT program completely, including existing contracts. I favour the Czech method of introducing a 25% surtax on solar and wind producers. That's the route we should go.

What was also interesting about the email was the power the person produced. I had heard that these panels would supply less than 20% of a normal home. With the numbers she gave me of their 2010 production, it's worse than that. She said they produced 1900kWh of power in 2010. My place, a bit lower than normal, was around 19,000 for the year. That's 10% those panels produced of what I need. Also interesting she agreed that their winter output is much less than summer output. You think! Like that wasn't predictable.

Now this person wants to get off the grid. So do the math. They would need 10 times the number of panels, likely 20 times because the panels not only have to power the home, but to power their home at night they would need batteries. Some 100 batteries at $350 each. The panels would need to also recharge those batteries during the day as well as power the house (hence more panels than you need to power just the house.)

The batteries only last 6-8 years, and need a complete replacement. So going off grid, unless you want to live like we did in the 1800's, is not possible. Not with our technology, most of which is now required.

So what's my take on the problems these panel owners are having with H1, and going have more of in the future?

As they saying goes, play with the Devil expect to get burned.

This is just the beginning of problems for panel owners.


  1. You've got two e-mails. That sure makes you an expert. Why don't you do some simple research instead of basically fear mongering.

    There are resources out there that will tell you, objectively, what real solar power systems can produce. They're not hard to find! ourpower.ca would be a good first stop. Or just Google "how much power do solar panels produce in Ontario"

    1. wow,,,,,the fact that our rates have gone up so much so point to fact that solar and wind are a green pipe-dream

  2. What a laughable article... I own a microfit project and this is a great opportunity for all ontarions. My solar panels consistently produce 1350 kwh/kw installed per year so a 10 kw system produces over $11,000 in revenue offering a modest but safe return on my investement (considering the fixed price/kw vs inflation and the fact that its not a compounded return). Would you rather have your electricity produced by dangerous sources with plants built with borrowed money that cant be serviced and ran by inefficient goverment. Trust me, a 20 year fixed price $0.80 per kw is cheap compared to the ongoing startup and operational costs of nuclear including escalation and inflation. Why dont you put a cork in that wine bottle and join the band wagon. It makes absolute sense to put production of electricity in the public hands. Some day us fit contract owners will have the means to be completely energy self sufficient and the cost to do so paid for by you.

  3. Ok, two emails but I have heard numerous horror stories. We have also heard the on going battle with a farm who put in the manure energy plant at over a million to install and H1 is screwing them over. Not everyone complains via email and online. Just keep your ears open and you can hear the solar panels are getting a bad rap.

    It really is a shame as I would love to not only go off grid but help in saving the environment. Not too sure how a 100 batteries in my basement will help in that though!

  4. To Carl
    Not all Ontarions can afford the $x amount to get $11,000 a year return on investment. (how much did you sepnd on your system to get that amount back per year, probably a pretty penny) If everyone jumped on the band wagon, it would be shut down FAST as no one would need power from anyone else. This only helps the big companies and the rich, nothing more. the avg Ontarion pays what, even .11 or .12 cents per kwh and you get like .80 cents? How is that fair, make any sense the the avg consumer/ontarion? It doesn't. This is the biggest payout for a solar project int he world (I believe) But again, its great if you got the $ and the land to do it, or your a big company and put it on your roof as a tax write off and even income off of the avg/poor Ontarion.
    If governments were CEO's, if they had competition, they would be fired FAST casue all they do is screw over the little guy and make the rich get richer. I for one do not want to live in a country like that (can you say USA?)

  5. No to worry, Carl won't be making $11,000 per year off his panels. He is going to have quite the surpise when he finds out his panel output wont be enough to make the interest payments. My prediction is all these people will be going bankrupt in less than 3 years.

    1. ... It's been 6 years Dick ... we're not broke ...

  6. Richard Wakefield knows best of course...

  7. To Anonymous:

    System cost is approximately $80000 for a 12.4 kw system. The money is borrowed but interest is tax deductible on investment loans. Im not rich either, its just leverage.

    You should read the follow up posts to gain a fuller understanding of the true costs of electricity generation and follow up.




  8. Carl, you will pay income tax on the net. You also do not pay additional property taxes, which you should since the value of your property is now $80K higher. So you are being subsized on that front. That will likley end under the Conservatives, so you will have higher prperty taxes:

    See this: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/16/krazy-in-kalamazoo-taxes-on-solar-farm-more-than-the-value-of-the-electricity-produced/

    Oh, and you will not generate 12.4 kw, maybe 1/10th of that. The past 5 days you would be producing NOTHING. I "know best" because

    a: I understand how the real world works.

    b: wind was also claimed to produce loads of power, my research shows it does not. I will be researching this summer on what people are actually physically producing from solar. But from what I have seen so far, their yearly output is less than one month of my consumption.

    You are in for a nasty reality check in the not so distant future.

  9. One of the "subsidies" that was in the document Carl linked to included lack of PST on hydrobills. That's now mute with the HST now being applied, but if that were the case, feminine hygiene products were also PST exempt. Were those products subsidized Carl? That's why your example of the "true" costs of power was pure BS.

  10. Yes I do pay income tax on this income but the value of the system is tax deductible as a capital cost allowance..just like any other capital cost incurred by any business. Ill hardly pay any tax until this is used up.

    My solar panels are oversized for a reason. The panel technology I selected produced near full power (10kw) yesterday in full cloud cover, not 1/10th as per your claim. On really good days, I will will be producing over 10kw and this power will be clipped by my inverters.

    You must think we are all a bunch of morons to invest in something that would take 80 years to pay off with your 1/10th claim.

    You know best about how the real world works but you have only offered weak arguements about how electricity production in ontario is subsidized by taxpayers. So we have to pay HST now, big whoop, Ontario power generation has to pay HST on everything too. Its no different than any tax ladder, the end user always pays it. What about all the other subsidies I mentioned outside of that article?

    You dont know what you are talking about. Your just all up in a huff and puff cause your hydro bills are going up and taking a stab at the first thing you think is causing it ei, microfit, GRA etc. when in reality you havent considered all the facts.

  11. Not one of those "subsities" in that documanet are subities. Go look at the definition of the word "subsity". Those in that doument are tax credits. Allowing companies and people to keep more of their own money is not a subsity. Now the document's desire that low income people get government handouts to help pay for power is a subsity.

    You have production numbers now? Care to share them on a spreadsheet? Hourly would be nice, daily is fine. Show us the actual kWh of producion along with percent capacity.

    That 1/10th comes from someone else who also has panels.

  12. http://portal.powerhousesolar.ca/publicpage.aspx

  13. Richard,

    It reads like you are writing about the micro-FIT program, not the FIT program. Different rules, different rates, different requirements.

    If you want to be taken seriously you should state technical facts, not ambiguous numbers. For example, not the number of batteries, but the capacity of the whole battery system, regardless of the number of batteries.

    As per your taxation comments, each system and location is different. Each person should consult a tax “expert”.

    Now my opinion regarding Hydro One. Do you think that the Hydro One unions want private power generators in our province? Do you think that Hydro One employees that made the “Sunshine List” want private power generators in our province? No and No.

    Yours truly,

    Kevin Morrissey

  14. I do not know the numbers for total generation with these panels, I am curious too. I doubt it would be worth while unless McGuinty continues to offering major kickbacks for at least the life of the panels. I too wonder about the longevity of these panels compared to return on income.

    I do know 1 thing for sure, Hydro 1 controls the grid, how the power is being distributed. The more private installs the more they make.
    On the other hand Ontario Power Generation will take the hit and be the ones downsizing. These 2 compaines seperated years ago and were originally know as Ontario Hydro.

    here is a link to the latest Hydro 1 and Energy board decision and order http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/_Documents/Decisions/dec_order_ed_honi_dsc_exemption_20111011.pdf

  15. I live in Grey Bruce and all the FIT's around here seem to be 90% owned by Hydroid's as they seem to be the only one's that can get them installed and hooked up to Hydro.
    I hate like hell paying huge hydro bills to line the pockets of people who already make, in my mind, too much money.


  16. I am curious. A friend installed the panels and was wondering if his solar in take is used as part of his normal consumption. Therefore reducing his intake by personal use and also technically costing him the solar rate for his electricity. Especially in the evening.Anyone know if this is the case or is there some way to differentiate between the incoming and outgoing?

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Please feel free to leave a comment, especially if you wish to share your own horror story. If you wish to get involved in the class action suit please contact me directly at jrwakefield@mcswiz.com put Class Action Suit in the subject please.