THE TRUTH ABOUT SOLAR
SIX COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SOLAR — DEBUNKED
Solar power is exactly that — powerful — though it’s often misunderstood.
When you hear the term “solar power,” you may have some hesitations about how it will work in our climate and how it can impact your bill. If you think solar isn’t for you, think again! Now is a great time to consider installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Plus, there are rebates and financing available to help with the upfront costs.
We’ve put together a list of six solar myths and why they’re inaccurate. Let’s debunk them together and discover the truth about solar.
Myth #1: Solar will eliminate my energy bill
This myth is simply false. Using solar power won’t remove your energy bill entirely, though it can reduce it.
Your bill amount largely depends on how you and the people in your household or building use electricity. Since solar power reaches its peak generation during the day, you can maximize your solar use by doing your laundry or running your dishwasher during the day.
It’s important to know that you’ll still need to be connected to Manitoba Hydro’s grid to purchase electricity during the evening and night as well as on cloudy, rainy, and snowy days when solar power isn’t as effective. The following image shows how solar power overlaps with your electricity usage:
If you aren’t using all the electricity produced by your solar PV system throughout the day, you can sell the excess energy back to Manitoba Hydro for a credit on your account. This concept is known as net billing. Keep in mind that you pay more to buy electricity from Manitoba Hydro than you’ll receive when selling excess electricity back to them.
To sum it up, using energy during your solar PV system’s peak generation period will help you maximize your savings.
Read this article to learn more about solar power and your energy bill.
Myth #2: Solar will power my home/building, even during a power outage
Grid-connected solar PV systems don’t provide power during Manitoba Hydro electrical grid outages unless they have a battery backup system. Solar PV systems are designed to shut down during outages to stop electricity from flowing back to the grid to protect workers.
If you own a solar PV system with battery storage, you’ll have the option to select which circuits will keep using power during an outage. This is one way to guarantee you’ll have power during an outage!
Myth #3: Installing solar means going off the grid
Most solar PV systems are still connected to the Manitoba Hydro electric grid, so once the sun is down, you can rely on renewable electricity from the grid. It’s possible to install an off-grid solar system if you use batteries for power, but most users will keep their system grid-connected to ensure they’re covered during the darker hours.
In order to be eligible for our Solar Rebate Program, your solar PV system must be connected to the Manitoba Hydro grid.
Myth #4: Solar power doesn’t work when it’s cloudy
If there’s cloud coverage, solar power won’t work…right? Wrong!
When the sun shines onto your solar panels, the PV cells absorb energy from the sun. The more sun, the more energy the panels will produce. Even if it’s cloudy, the solar PV system can still generate electricity — it’ll just be less effective.
Myth #5: Solar power doesn’t work in the winter months
Solar panels need light to generate electricity — not heat. This means cold winter temperatures don’t impact the effectiveness of your solar PV system. Even if the winter months are cloudy and grey and the days are shorter, your system will still generate power, albeit less than in the sunny summer months.
One thing to watch out for is snow collecting on your solar panels. If they’re covered, they won’t generate power. However, depending on the angle of your panels (and pitch of your roof for roof-mounted systems), snow can slide off, and performance won’t be impacted. Your contractor may also suggest using a snow brush to help remove snow. Plus, as the sun comes out, it’ll heat your panels and help the snow slide off.
Myth #6: Solar power requires extensive maintenance
This is a common misconception! While we recommend getting periodic inspections to ensure everything is running smoothly and keeping your panels clear of leaves, foliage, and snow, nothing else is required of you.
If you suspect your solar PV system isn’t working properly or if you spot any issues, contact a technician and have them look at it.
It’s important to have all the information before you install a solar PV system at your home or business. We recommend requesting quotes from at least three contractors before signing a contract. This way, you’ll be able to ask questions and get the information you need to make an informed decision.
OUR SOLAR PROGRAMS
Visit our program pages to learn more and find out if you’re eligible:
SOLAR FOR YOUR HOME
RECEIVE UP TO $5,000 IN REBATES
We offer a rebate of $0.50 per direct current (DC) watt installed on homes connected to Manitoba Hydro’s grid, up to a maximum of 10 kW and $5,000 per home.
SOLAR FOR YOUR BUSINESS
RECEIVE UP TO $25,000 IN REBATES
We offer a rebate of $0.50 per direct current (DC) watt installed on businesses connected to Manitoba Hydro’s grid, up to a maximum of 50 kW and $25,000 per building.