Friday, 31 March 2017

Sweet Spot Solar radio ads on Radio NL throughout the month of April

Sweet Spot Solar would like to thank all of our clients and prospective clients for helping us put together two 15 second radio ads to be played on Radio NL. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions on what elements to include. These ads will play throughout the month of April 2017 in Kamloops and the interior of British Columbia.

Ad #1: "It's time to go solar"

Ad #2: "Solarize your future"


Thursday, 30 March 2017

A perfect solar day in March!

Check out this almost perfect solar day from one of our arrays on Gabriola Island. A bell curve is what we like to see, and when a medium-sized residential array produces 45 kWh in one day in March, we are smiling ear-to-ear.



EcoFoot Racking For Flat Roofs

Sweet Spot Solar is excited to offer our clients another low-cost, high-quality option for mounting solar modules on flat roofs. Check out the EcoFoot!

It uses no rails, is quick to assemble, requires less ballast to hold it down, and the shipping cost is lower too. We should probably also say that it costs around 20% less than any other approach.

Here's a nice video showing it all comes together.



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sweet Spot Solar is on Radio NL on March 29

Listen to Michael, the owner of Sweet Spot Solar, talk about solar power on the Jim Harrison Show on Radio NL (Kamloops) live at 9:40AM tomorrow (Wednesday). The live stream is at http://www.radionl.com/

If you missed the live show, a podcast can be found here.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Solar modules can power directly DC fans for ventilation purposes

If you have a greenhouse or other large space and need ventilation, the most cost-effective way is to pair solar modules directly to brushless DC motor fans. There is no need for inverters, batteries, or much else other than some wire to connect together the modules and fans. Here's an example of a 16 inch fan that would work very well with a low-cost 265 Watt solar module.



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

$2.75/W installed cost is a record breaker - A Kamloops project

Sweet Spot Solar has just set a new benchmark that will be very hard for others to beat. A new array being installed in Kamloops is coming together at $2.75/Watt! This 4.6 kW array is roof mounted on shingles, uses monocrystalline 280W modules by Canadian Solar, high-quality Enphase M250 micro-inverters, and an Envoy communications gateway. All of the equipment came in at $10,000 from our sales in January and February, and the installation will be $3000. The industry average in BC is still north of $4/Watt.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Would you like a solar powered carport to charge an electric car?

Updated April 4, 2017:

Would you like something similar to this to charge your electric car and to provide power to your house? We are looking for clients interested in pioneering this approach with us. Contact Michael by email at michael@sweetspotsolar.com





Solar power and electric vehicles are a match made in heaven. Why not use a solar array to send power into your house and into your car's batteries? You will be driving on sunshine!

Sweet Spot Solar is looking for a client in the Kamloops area who is interested in a novel and mutually beneficial project.

On August 12, 2017, a special night called Hot Nite in the City will be held where people showcase a range of vehicles. A group is putting together a special display of electric cars for this event.

Here's the proposal: If a client would like an electric car charging station powered by solar modules, we will work with you and local carpenters to make something beautiful and functional.

Here's the catch: Before this gets installed at your property, we would like to showcase this charging station at Hot Nites in the City.

Here's the bait: Sweet Spot Solar will sell you the photovoltaic equipment including modules and inverters at-cost!

For more information, contact Michael at michael@sweetspotsolar.com


Monday, 20 March 2017

The Downside Of Solar

Here's the only negative thing about solar. With a large enough solar array, you can neutralize your electricity bill and even create a credit. These graphs are from one of our arrays composed of 18 solar modules on a 2100 square foot house. Since mid-February, this array began to noticeably decrease the daily power consumption. Yesterday the overall consumption for the house was 2 kWh. Note how the solar array created a credit between 10-4 that was applied immediately to reduce the overall daily figure.





Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A power plant installed onto your garage on Gabriola Island

Why have just a garage when you can have a solar power plant? This project used 28 high-output solar modules to produce annually around 10,000 kWh/year of electricity! Here are before and after photos.




Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ad: How Much Does Solar Cost?

The following ad is coming out on Tuesday March 14 2017 in Kamloops This Week.



Help Us Design A 15 Second Radio Commercial

Sweet Spot Solar can you use your help. We are putting together a 15 second radio commercial to be aired throughout the month of April on RadioNL in Kamloops and region. What key message or two should we focus on? Any suggestions for wording, sounds, style and tone would be very much appreciated. We can be reached at info@sweetspotsolar.com

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Solar-Powered Car Charging Station Or Solar Pergola

Sweet Spot Solar tries to push the frontiers of aesthetically-pleasing and functional design. We would love to work with local carpenters and electricians to make something like this for either a solar-powered car charging station or a solar-powered pergola. Let us know if you would like to purchase something like this, and we'll begin the process.


Ground Mounted Solar On A Trailer - The Ultimate In Mobile Grid-Tie

With our highly mobile society, a lot of people raise concerns about not knowing how long they might live in their current home. And for renters the prospect of permanently mounting solar modules on a roof is a poor option. Here's a novel and portable solution that let's you have solar-on-the-go and it can be connected to a grid-tie approach. 
This trailer is carrying 14 solar modules, and with 265 Watt modules you would have a 3.71 kW array that makes 4450 kWh/year. The solar equipment would cost around than $8500 but you would need your own trailer and hire someone to do some simple welding to make the array's frame. A trailer with a bed of 24' will work.




Thursday, 23 February 2017

Have you considered a ground mounting option for solar?

Ground mounted solar is an excellent option for property owners for a range of reasons. If your roof is older or perhaps unsuitable due to angles, shape and size, a ground array can solve those problems. A ground array is also scalable and you can start small and go to several hundred modules based on need, interest and finances.

You can also position them on your property to act as wind breaks, fences, or to block out things nearby that you would prefer not to look at. They are easier to maintain, and you can also disassemble them and take them somewhere else if you decide to move.

We offer various size options. For the average house in BC, a ground mount with 40 modules (two rows of 20 in portrait mode) will neutralize 100% of your utility bill. This larger ground mount is approximately 67' long.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Solar is for all ages

Ian and his wife Audrey took delivery this week of their new solar array. This 14 module system will grace the southern side of their roof in the Westsyde area of Kamloops, and should be up and running once the snow has melted.
At 84 years old you would wonder why I’m going solar? Do I really, honestly, believe that I’ll live long enough to break even on the investment? No. But my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren - - - and neighbours will realize that I’ve done my best to leave them a message of  sustainability. Hopefully they, in turn, will leave similar messages that will contribute a little more to the planet’s health. Even from an economic point of view, should the Site C hydro dam go through, those with foresight will realize that the only way to lessen their soaring hydro bills is to become as energy independent as possible. 
- Ian





A new solar array is coming to Rayleigh

Congratulations to Noreen and Ken for their new stack of solar modules. Ken and their son Ryan took delivery today. They purchased 17 Canadian Solar 280 Watt monocrystalline modules with a matte black frame finish. They plan to purchase the balance of the system including inverters and mounting kit soon. This will be one of only a handful of solar systems in their area just north of Kamloops.

We feel that it is our duty as global citizens to take an active role in reducing our own carbon footprint, and purchasing a solar array is a part of that process. Dr. Michael Mehta has guided us through the purchase and design of our solar system, demonstrating how this can be more attainable for the average home owner. It is one of many elements of our lifestyle that we believe will make a difference in carbon reduction.

- Noreen and Ken 


Congratulations to Sarah and Tim

Sarah and Tim of North Kamloops are the proud owners of a new solar array. Their 16 module system arrived today. It is composed of Canadian Solar 280 Watt monocrystalline modules, Enphase M250 micro-inverters and cabling, an aluminum rail kit with flashing and parts for mounting on a shingle roof, and an Envoy communication gateway to get realtime data on their arrays performance.

About 8 years ago we put in a high efficiency furnace, an on-demand tankless hot water heater and a heat pump. We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint. As a result of this our natural gas bill decreased dramatically (less than 1/4).  Now we are getting close to retirement and we want to have our hydro bill as low as we can get it. To help us  reach this goal we decided to install solar panels. It feels great to  lower our demand for electricity from B.C. Hydro in ways that are not destructive to the environment. 
- Tim and Sarah




Monday, 23 January 2017

A big tracker is coming to the Kamloops area

Last week Sweet Spot Solar sold equipment for three new rooftop arrays. This week we are thrilled to have sold this incredible two axis tracker to a family in Kamloops. This tracker will be constructed using bifacial modules made by Canadian company Silfab, and it is expected to produce around 22,000 kWh/year of electricity.The bifacial modules capture energy from behind by taking advantage of the albedo effect. It is going on an acreage and we expect it to be a landmark to showcase how solar can make a significant impact on our future sustainability.



Friday, 20 January 2017

Solar is coming on like a freight train

Our current sale of modules is now over, and we are thrilled that three new solar arrays will soon find a home on rooftops in Kamloops! Stay tuned for more special offers, but to be frank... There's no need to wait. Sweet Spot Solar's prices are always substantially lower than our competitors. Now is the time to buy solar so that you can take full advantage of the coming sunny days.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Solar arrays are easy and fun to install


Here's an informative video from our supplier of how our most common roof-based array comes together. Behind each module is a super efficient micro-inverter made by Enphase. This converts the DC power from the module into AC for your home, business, etc.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Sale: $180 for Hanwha 265 Watt modules with black frames

We have a new sale on right now for pallets of Hanwha 265 Watt modules with black frames. Orders must be for full pallets (32 modules) for this special deal. These high quality modules are being sold at $180 each! Delivery would be in February or March.

This sale is on only for one week and ends January 19.



Thursday, 5 January 2017

Hanwha QCELL 265 Watt Modules With Black Matte Aluminum Frame

Sweet Spot Solar just received a sample of a high-quality solar module made by Hanwha. These modules are made in Korea by one of the world's leading solar companies, and this model (the 265W QCELL) is an excellent performer. They come with a sleek matte finish black frame.

We can bring these in from our Calgary warehouse in usually less than a week.




Sunday, 18 December 2016

With these prices on solar, what are you waiting for?

Here's a quick example of how much a solar array would cost you with our pricing model. You could purchase right now a 16 module array rated at 4.24 kW DC. Depending on your location this could put out between 4800-5100 kWh/year. The equipment portion includes 16 Canadian Solar 265W modules, 16 Enphase M-215 micro inverters, Enphase Engage cabling, rails and mounting equipment for a roof. With delivery and taxes = $9900.00 (depending on location). On Gabriola Island and area our installer can likely do a project like this for approximately $2500.00. From a financial perspective, the levellized cost of energy for this array is 9.92 cents/kWh over 25 years based on 5000 kWh/year, and for 30 years the cost of electricity is 8.26 cents/kWh. No more rate increases! You lock yourself into this price by pre-buying power from your own array on a net metered basis.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Top Of Pole Mounts For Solar

There are so many options for mouting solar. One idea that's taking off is the use of top of pole mounts. Sweet Spot Solar can put together a 10 module package in two rows of five modules (portait orientation) for you. This would include 10 265 Watt Canadian Solar modules with black frames, a top of pole mouting kit (you will have to source the pole from a local metal shop and they usually cost around $400-500), 10 Enphase M-215 micro-inverters, and Enphase Engage cabling. This equipment package costs between $8000-8500 with delivery and taxes depending on where you live. A concrete foundation with rebar or mesh should be poured to anchor it. Here's an example of what this could look like, and the actual 10 module layout. Installation of such a system is likely to be in the $2000 range.



The above illustration is for a 15 module mount. For a 10 module mount there is one less row.



Friday, 9 December 2016

Rock Bottom Prices On Solar Modules - Canadian Solar

We just heard from our supplier that solar modules are currently at rock-bottom price. If you're considering a solar array, now is the time to buy it. We have high-quality Canadian Solar modules for sale for about 75 cents/Watt!

We can sell you 265 Watt polycrystalline modules with black frames for around $200.00 (limited time offer and subject to change at any time).

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Here comes the sun: Solar farm sites sought in Kamloops region

An article by Cam Fortems in the December 6, 2016, edition of Kamloops This Week discusses the opportunity to develop solar farms in the interior of BC.




Sweet Spot Solar's Michael Mehta stated the following:

"He believes B.C.’s energy solution is in individual units in homes and businesses, rather than with solar farms."

To read the full article click here.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Grid Zero House: Almost Off-Grid But With A Twist

Some people in British Columbia prefer to keep their existing analogue meter and not make the switch to a smart meter. There are many personal reasons for this decision.

Unfortunately BC Hydro will only allow net metering for clients with a smart meter. You can have the radio-on or radio-off option.

This makes it challenging for people who want to set-up a solar array on their property.

Until now there were limited choices: Go off grid completely or accept the smart meter.

Sweet Spot Solar is pleased to offer you a third option called Grid Zero. This allows you to keep your analogue meter, stay connected to the grid, and have a solar array. This also works with smart meters and adds the bonus of net metering into the mix.

How does this work?

With smart metering (using the net metering program) and a solar array, you remain connected to the grid. Your smart meter records how much power you consume, and how much power you push into the grid and it records excess generation. This creates a rolling credit.

With a Grid Zero system you remain connected to the grid, have battery back up, but you are not pushing extra power back into the grid. There is no credit for excess generation from BC Hydro in this case.

In other words, you are not grid-tie for the solar array but still remain grid connected for your house. This approach works with an analogue meter and does not require BC Hydro approval since you are not feeding their grid. Of course, an electrical permit is still required. The illustration below helps explain how this works.




Sweet Spot Solar can sell you the solar modules and electronics to make this a reality, and for a Grid Zero approach we use an incredible piece of integrated technology called the Wave.

The Wave is a complete plug and play system that includes state-of-the-art battery technology and world-class inverter technology by Outback Power. The system is enclosed in one housing, and it is programmable to work in grid-tie, off-grid, and Grid Zero applications.

The batteries are made using a non-toxic Aqueous Hybrid Ion solution (like salt water) and they come in various sizes from 4000W with 11.85 kWh of storage all the way to a whooping 16,000W at 71.1 kWh. To learn more about the batteries go here. You can watch a video of how this battery is made on Youtube. To learn more about the developer of the product click here.

In a nutshell, Grid Zero works like this:

In the day when the sun is shining, your house is using power from the solar array. If extra power is required, the battery will be used to top up your needs. If still more power is required, that differential will be drawn from the grid.

When the sun is not shining and your solar array isn't producing anything, you will draw from your batteries first and then top up from the grid as required.

The system is designed to keep your batteries charged as well.

This is all done seamlessly by the system, and it cuts down dramatically how much power you need to purchase from BC Hydro. If you size the system right, you may not need to buy anything from them!

The system provides reliability, can be used during power outages, reduces your purchase costs from BC Hydro, and doesn't require a very large array and battery back up system like a full off-grid kit Most off-grid systems also require the use of backup generators frequently during winter months to keep batteries topped up.

For those interested in the technical side of how this inverter technology works go here.

Let us know if this is something we can design and quote for you.




Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Update - Cook your meals using the power of the Sun

Sweet Spot Solar has tested a new product for those who want to use the Sun to cook! This parabolic cooker is a hybrid since it also acts like a solar oven. We are selling these for $250.00.




Here's a nice video that shows how this cooker works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF57dVycVmo

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Join us in Kamloops for a talk on solar power and electric vehicles: November 3, 2016

All are welcome on Thursday November 3 to this event where we'll be talking about solar power, electric vehicles, and other sustainability projects in the works for Kamloops and the interior of BC. The President of Sweet Spot Solar, Michael Mehta, will talk about what the future holds in terms of solar photovoltaic technology. You will also hear from local engineer Brock Nanson about how electric vehicles are evolving to fill more than a niche market.



Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Use the grid as your battery

Net metering is the closest you can get to using the grid as your battery, without having to buy and maintain batteries.
Here's an example from one of our systems for the month of September.
This 18 module system produced a credit for the month of 343 kWh! This amount will be deducted automatically from the October bill for any net consumption.



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

On Commercial V. Residential Solar Installations

Sweet Spot Solar is delighted to see that a lot of commercial buildings including apartment complexes, warehouses, and large office buildings have expressed an interest in solar in recent months.

As a company whose focus is on providing the best quality product at the lowest price possible, we are uniquely positioned to work in this sector for several reasons.

First, the differences between commercial and residential solar applications have become less pronounced due to changes in technology. Our team members have been involved in some of BC's largest and smallest grid-tie solar photovoltaic arrays, and it's worth noting that some of the largest arrays in the province have been installed on residences.

Second, BC Hydro makes a distinction in terms of interconnection requirements between simple and complex distributed generation. In short, solar arrays less than 27 kW in size on a 200A or smaller service using Single Phase qualifies as simple in terms of the application process for net metering, whereas solar arrays up to 100 kW that don't meet these requirements are automatically defined as complex. We have done both kinds.

Third, the main difference between residential and most commercial arrays is that commercial properties often have flat roofs. We work with engineers through our supplier to design ballasted racking systems to work perfectly on flat roofs. Given the light weight of solar modules (typically less than 45 pounds) plus the balance of the system, these ballasted systems spread the load across rooftops very well. Here's an example of a system that our supplier provides for this application. For larger commercial installations, we use the consulting services of Sentinel Solar in Ontario to do system design.



For example, for a flat roof with dimensions of 73' by 137', our engineers estimated that 160 modules can be mounted on a ballasted rack angled at 15 degrees. Using 265W modules, this array would be rated at 42.4 kW DC. We provided recently a quote for an installed system like this for $140,000 all-in [$3.30/Watt installed is unbeatable].

Thursday, 22 September 2016

In-Roof Module Mounting

Sweet Spot Solar is pleased to offer for new home construction or re-roofing projects, a slick integrated in-roof module  system by GSE




This approach is taking France by storm and it has accelerated dramatically the installation of solar in that country. 





It is also being used for many historical building restoration projects due to its enhanced aesthetics.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Solar: Perfect Versus Cloudy Days

Solar modules have become so good in recent years that they can harvest photons from the Sun even on cloudy days. Here's an example from one of our arrays built upon LG 310 modules and M-250 micro-inverters. In the first graph we have a close to perfect solar day with 45.3 kWhs generated. Note the smooth bell curve which indicates no cloud coverage at all.



The second graph, from the same array, is from a day with lots of variability and constantly changing cloud cover. Even on this day the array generated 37.6 kWhs - or 83% of a perfect solar day.




When a system is properly and professionally designed and installed, this kind of performance is normal. Sweet Spot Solar can make your solar dreams a reality.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Best practices for mounting solar on shingle roofs

A natural fear that homeowners have about mounting solar on their roof is the integrity of the installation with respect to water incursion.

In the past, many solar installations were simply screwed down to the roof with lots of a roofing compound placed around entry points. This approach is simply unacceptable on shingle roofs nowadays, and code and industry association requirements demand that flashing be used.

At Sweet Spot Solar we are constantly exploring new product lines and our staff take regularly continuing education programs.

Although our company does not do installations ourselves, we work with installers to provide you with the best project price and the highest quality equipment.

When it comes to flashing for shingle roofs, one of the most effective products we have found is made by Quick Mount PV. Although more expensive than competitors, it's better to spend money on good quality equipment like this upfront rather than risk a leak in the future.

The E-Mount is a specially designed flashing kit that uses an elevated water seal to provide the best possible waterproofing and durability over the long run. We have samples of this product and others like it to show clients when we review your solar needs.



Here's a great video profiling this flashing kit and how it mounts. Hopefully this will give you greater peace of mind when considering a solar option for your roof.


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Solar at the cottage/cabin

Here's why a small solar array at your seasonal property makes a lot of sense.

If you have a cabin or cottage that is primarily used in Summer, a solar array will produce a rolling credit throughout the year that will likely neutralize your bills (or create income) on an annual basis.

In the example below, this array of 18 modules is producing significant credit when most of the electrical load is turned off.


When your family is there during the Summer, your electrical demand is met first by what your array produces, any extra consumption is pulled from the grid, and any extra production creates more credit.

For a property that is used primarily in the Winter months like a ski chalet, a solar array makes even more sense since you can accumulate a very large credit during the solar peak months (typically March to October in Western Canada) to reduce or neutralize your Winter bills.

Even a small system of  5-10 modules can make a difference for such property owners.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Solar strata is possible too

A lot of people who live in condo and townhouse stratas can also benefit from solar to reduce their fees. Sweet Spot Solar can help do something like this.




Sunday, 21 August 2016

Here is Gabriola's newest solar array. Congratulations Joanna and Bram. A stunning 28 module array based on LG 310/Enphase M250 micro-inverter technology. This array was built on a garage roof clad with standing seam metal, S-5 clamps, and aluminum racking -- all done without a single hole!



Friday, 19 August 2016

Another example of net metering

Here's another example of how net metering can work with your solar array. This 2100 square foot house has an array of 18 modules on the roof. Yesterday there were some big demands with two loads of laundry, a bath, shower, dishwasher cycle and a water distiller running for several hours using 1500 Watts of power. The house still produced a credit of 1 kWh for the day, and in the afternoon was pumping almost 3400 Watts into the grid.




A new solar array in Nanaimo

The Sweet Spot Solar team put up another solar system in Nanaimo yesterday. Our team worked on a steep asphalt shingle roof to install a solar ready-plus 1 kW system for $3999 (all-in).


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Monday, 15 August 2016

Congratulations to Joanna and Bram Vandenberg of Gabriola Island on their new solar array

Congratulations to Joanna and Bram Vandenberg of Gabriola Island for helping us show the way to a bright and renewable future. They received deliverary today of equipment to install an 8.86 kW array composed of 28 LG 310 Watt modules coupled with Enphase M-250 micro-inverters.


This array will be mounted on the roof of their garage using S-5 clamps that attach to standing seam metal roofs - all without holes!



Stay tuned for updates on this project. For your free site assessment contact us at info@sweetspotsolar.com