Welcome to South Winnipeg. Driving south down the 75, just over the perimeter, you will find one of Winnipeg’s bilingual communities and home of 5000 people, St Norbert.
This bustling community attracts many art enthusiasts with its annual Shakespeare in the Ruins play performed at Trappist Monastery and their infamous farmers market, now open year round. Most recently they’ve added a new highlight to their community, a home owner recently went solar!
In the fall of 2022, a green enthusiast family took the opportunity of a lifetime to fulfill their dreams of producing their own energy on their rooftop. This family, for the sake of this article we will call them Mr + Mrs C, had long researched the possibilities to reduce their carbon prints and give back to nature, the peace it gave them. They began their green journey like the rest of us, reducing the use of plastics, reducing waste and recycling. Then came the new technology of the Electric vehicle, and our couple made the investment. They purchased a Nissan Leaf 10 years ago.
After the EV was checked off their list, Vibes Energy was lucky enough to receive the call to help them check off another bucket list item: a grid tie solar system. We began the process like we do with all of our customers, we requested their address, 1 year consumption report from Manitoba hydro and we confirmed that their load profile won’t change too much in the near future. What does this mean? We ask questions like:
Are you planning to upgrade any of your major appliances in the next few years?
Do you have an aging family, and are any members likely to move out/move in, in the next few years?
- Are you planning on growing your family in the next few years?
- Are you considering switching over to an Electric Vehicle in the next few years?
- Is battery back up a viable option for your home?
- Do you want a scalable installation? Meaning you want to start with a smaller system with hopes to add to it over time?
With this information we are able to plug all the required figures into our design software that generates a design that speaks to your unique consumption as a homeowner and size the system accurately to your home. We are then able to look for any obstructions that create shading on your system and generate an approximate cost.
After we delivered the initial proposal to Mr+Mrs C, we requested a site visit. Why? Simple, a computer generated report is excellent, but until we get our experts to get a true lay of the land, it’s extremely difficult to predict any flaws in our initial proposal that can result in additional costs down the line. During our site visit, we recognized the client only had a 100 amp service, and there was a tree in front of their home that had the potential to grow and cast shadows over the initial design.
As a result we recommended the client upgrade the service to a 200 amp service to make enough room for the new solar installation and the current EV charger, and we adjusted the design to move the system further back on the roof (still south facing) to avoid the potential shading from the tree’s future growth. After the review of the new proposal and estimate, the client gave us the go ahead.
The first step: the client had to apply for the greener homes grant. This step takes time, as you need to do an initial pre-retrofit consultation with an Energy Advisor, there is a cost associated that is reimbursed once the grant is funded.
Step 2: Receive the Energy consult report, apply for the grant. If you are planning to apply for the Greener homes grant loan, now is a great time to start to prepare.
Step 3: Once the grant is approved you have two options
Start your solar installation
If your are applying for the Greener homes Loan, you need to start your application and receive a decision before you project begins
Step 4: It’s time to get your project underway. During this time we would have applied for permitting, requested stamped engineering reports, etc. Once all of the steps are completed, we order your materials directly to site and get the system mounted.
Step 5: Final inspection, installation of your bidirectional meter. Switch on that system!
Step 6: Post retro-fit evaluation done by your energy consultant.
Step 7: Remit the paperwork for your loan and grant disbursement and we will handle the Efficiency Manitoba rebate. Note: All rebates go directly to you, no monies precluding rebates or loans will be handled by Vibes Energy.
Step 8: Sit back, enjoy the savings!
Our St. Norbert project was 5.46 KW. They decided to use black on black 390W TrinaSolar modules paired with APsystems DS3-S micro-inverters with web based monitoring. Upon discussion with the client, they didn’t have any intention to add on batteries in the future ( to make the system a grid-tie battery backup system) and they had made it clear they wanted a scalable system. This means they made provisions for a manageable investment into solar initially with the intention to invest again in the future when they have more flexibility. This customer’s ideal project size was 7.02KW, however taking into consideration the current grants, we recommended a 5.46KW system as it was the best financial decision (that fit their current budget) and we made provisions to add 4 panels down the line to grow to a 7.02KW system. That means when creating the current design, we decided to upsize the cables and switchgear which will make the additional 1.56 KW a simple upgrade when the client is ready.
At Vibes Energy we are constantly striving to make decisions that best fit our clients needs today, tomorrow and for their future. We know going solar isn’t an easy decision, but rather an investment that can change your lives in many different ways. We look forward to helping you make the best decision for your installation.