The Learning & Educational Section
Knowledge is power!
We have written a number of articles on a variety of renewable energy topics that we hope you find helpful. Because our background is in wind energy, most are currently related to that. The plan is to add more information to this section, in particular solar PV and off-grid articles, so check back regularly!
Some of the articles may seem a bit out of context, as they are about brands we no longer sell. There is a history to this, and you can get the nitty-gritty by clicking this link …
Click the article titles to get to the full text, or browse through our LINKS section just below the articles.
Properly sizing a solar system has always been somewhat of a black art, even for experienced solar installers. This article explains step-by-step in detail how it is done. Both grid-tie and off-grid systems are discussed, including how to size the inverter and battery bank.
Check out what your province offers in incentives and rebates to help you get started with solar PV or other renewable energy sources. Almost all provinces offer some form of net-metering, some offer money as well. We try to keep this up to date. Please let us know if you find outdated information or new incentives!
Thinking about going off-grid? We can help you properly size and design a system, and provide all the parts you need to become energy-independent. This article has all the details, including approximate cost numbers. When the neighbourhood goes dark your lights will stay on!
A solar PV system on your rooftop is a great way to offset your electrical bill and lock in your rate! With a decade of hands-on experience we can provide all the supplies and help you successfully complete your own Net-Metering installation. This article provides all the information you need, including financial information about payback time and system cost.
Lithium-on batteries, in particular LiFePO4 type lithium-ion batteries, are quickly becoming more popular for off-grid power. Is their high price worth it? This article explorers the ins and outs of lithium-ion batteries, including proper care.
Batteries are the largest (recurring) expense for any off-grid system. Understanding what makes them tick, and learning to take good care of your batteries will greatly help to live a long and happy off-grid life!
All the information the turbine manufacturers, and some of the less scrupulous installers, leave out of their glossy brochures. This is a must-read if you are considering a small wind turbine in your backyard.
It tells the literal truth, as we have experienced over the years of dealing with small wind turbines.
The Wind Turbine Site Selection section helps you to find the best place to install your wind turbine. How high the tower should be, and what effect obstacles such as trees and houses will have (and how to work around this).
The Lightning Protection section shows how the pros provide almost foolproof lightning protection for wind turbines, communications towers and the like, and what you can do to protect your renewable energy installation from lightning damage.
The Electrical Connections article shows the the various options of using renewable energy sources. Topics such as grid-connected, off-grid, inverters, batteries, and charge controllers are explained, with lots of illustrations.
Collected in this article are a number of useful documents, tips, tricks, and wiring diagrams for use with Power-One (now ABB) Aurora solar and wind inverters. We used to be a distributor for these inverters for many years, and even though we no longer sell them we believed this information should be preserved so others can use it.
Solacity used to be the North American distributor for Eoltec’s Scirocco wind turbines. We collected a number of documents that could be of interest to the Scirocco owners that are looking for information.
Interested in making money from your rooftop? We can help you with a DIY solar PV system under the Ontario MicroFIT program. With a decade of hands-on experience we can provide all the supplies and help you successfully complete your own MicroFIT system.
All the details about MicroFIT including a financial analysis are provided.
Ontario FIT/MicroFIT Links
- Ontario’s FIT and MicroFIT programs – The OPA/IESO
- Hydro-One’s Form C; used for applying for a grid connection
- HydroOttawa’s connection request form; used for applying for a grid connection
- Green Power Talk Forum; thread discussing “Things your PV installer should be telling you”
- Green Power Talk Forum; thread showing a 5.7kW rooftop MicroFIT installation in detail
- Natural Resources Canada photovoltaic potential and solar resource data for Canada
- PVWatts solar energy and solar income estimator by NREL
Canada Renewable Energy Incentives
- NRCan Federal incentives, funds, and grants for renewable energy
- Ontario annual net-metering for small renewable energy installations up to 500 kW
- Alberta micro-generation for renewable energy installations up to 5 MW
- British Columbia annual net-metering for renewable energy installations up to 50 kW
- Nova Scotia annual net-metering for renewable energy installations up to 100 kW
- Prince Edward Island annual-net metering for renewable energy installations up to 100 kW
- Quebec net-metering for renewable energy installations up to 50 kW
- Saskatchewan net-metering and 35% rebate for RE installations up to 100kW
More Canada Links
- St. Lawrence College, green education courses
- Environment Canada climate normals, including average wind speed
- Pollution Probe Canada – Consumer info for a greener Canada
- Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
- Ontario Landowner’s Guide to Wind Energy
- Canadian Solar Industries Association
- Natural Resources Canada
Wind Atlas / Wind Resource Maps
- The Canadian Wind Atlas – wind speeds all over Canada, at various heights
- IRENA global Renewable Energy atlas – world wide wind speeds and more
- Windbarb; calculates annual energy yield for 100’s of wind turbines anywhere in the world
- Wind atlas showing current wind speeds and directions – Very Cool!
- WindFinder – tap into tens of thousands of weather stations worldwide
- NREL wind maps
- USA wind atlas and another USA wind atlas
- New Brunswick wind atlas
- Nova Scotia wind atlas
- Ontario renewable resources atlas – wind and water
Educational Wind Links
- Our own “The Truth About Small Wind Turbines”, a must-read if you are considering a wind turbine
- Home Power Magazine, an excellent information source for renewable energy
- Paul Gipe’s excellent site with general wind power information, small and large
- Hugh Piggott’s excellent DIY wind turbine site
- Otherpower’s DIY wind power site, build your own turbine!
- The Back Shed, DIY wind from Down Under
- Wikipedia’s entry on wind turbines, a good primer on turbine technology
- The cost of wind, price of wind, value of wind – a good article showing wind’s competitiveness