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We’re Going Solar At Our House: Part 3

Posted by Sherry Rioux on June 9, 2011

This is Part 3 in a series of our journey to installing a roof top solar system on our home.  If you wish to read from the beginning, start with this link.

We are now the proud owners of the largest, residential roof top solar system in Collingwood.  For now, anyway.

Since the last post, things happened pretty quickly and smoothly except for one minor glitch.
Some municipalities require engineering studies before issuing building permits for installations and some don’t.  Collingwood does so, we had a report completed.  The engineer suggested that it may be prudent for us to reinforce two roof rafters before winter to ensure we can carry snow loads.  At that point, it occurred to me, that we really should have had an engineering study done BEFORE we signed a solar contract.  In our case, it was fine but, what if the engineer had determined that the roof was not suitable?

Last Friday, the building permit was issued and, on Monday of this week, installation began.  A crew of three guys from SunVolts Unlimited  worked in the 34 degree heat on Tuesday (a good omen I think) laying the tracks for the racking systems, the cabling, meter boxes and basically the foundation for the panels which were installed on Wednesday.  Our system actually covers two south facing roofs on our house.  The end result is that they are barely obvious at all!  We’ve had several people drop by since then and not one has noticed the panels until we pointed them out.

The only unsightly part is the new metering boxes which are close to our entry way and very obvious.  We can deal with those through landscaping but it will take awhile to get that established.

Kudos to one of our local newspapers, the Enterprise-Bulletin, who sent a reporter out to get a story about the microFIT program and our experience.  We are amazed at the amount of interest people have and we are happy as each new person learns more about the benefits of solar.

Now we wait.  That’s the hardest part of this whole journey so far.  The days are long, bright and sunny but our panels are not yet connected to the grid.  We are waiting for the final safety inspections and for our local utility supplier, COLLUS to be able to connect the new meters.  Hopefully this will happen in the next week or so.

We really have to give a shout out to our contractor, SunVolts Unlimited.  From beginning to end, they have been on our side, keeping us informed and answering our many, many questions.  They follow-up before we even have a chance to ask and, their whole team has been 100% professional and a pleasure to deal with.  We’re very glad we chose them for this project.  Equally, COLLUS has been the same and communicates with us, answers our questions and has made the process easier than expected.

If you are interested to see the installation as it went along, you can view a photo album of pictures on my Facebook page at!/collingwood.bluemountain

We’re Going Solar at Our House ; Part 1
What is a Better Invest; Income Property or Solar?

7 thoughts on “We’re Going Solar At Our House: Part 3

  • Anonymous
    on July 21, 2011

    FYI- SunVolts Unlimited is now out of business. Say goodby to 2 year warranty service…

  • Marg
    on July 21, 2011

    Actually, it is the Owen sound location only that closed. Sun Volts is very much in business as they have been for 24 years with 7 other locations. That particular franchisee had his own issues and it’s wonderful to know that the head office stepped in within 24 hours and took over all of the contracts from that location. All the more reason to deal with a solid company like Sun Volts – a history and structure that can back up what they promise.

  • Anonymous
    on July 21, 2011

    Unfortunately both corporate phone and email are out of service now, and the main website says “out of business”, so it looks like the whole company tanked, not just one office… Unfortunately I have their solar system that is malfunctioning and now I will have to swallow the repair costs…

  • Marg
    on July 21, 2011

    Oh my gosh, you are right! Thank-you for bringing this to my attention.

  • on July 21, 2011

    Just want to introduce myself. My name is Tom Russell and I am the owner of Edcon Energy operating out of Collingwood. I have been paying attention to your blog and was disappointed that I did not have a chance to be involved in your project but as I have only started up my marketing understand why you would not have heard of me or my company. Matt Morris who actually was the representative for Owen Sound Sunvolts now works for me and as you have mentioned is an excellent sales manager and representative.
    The collapse of Sunvolts is unfortunate but does show that big is not necessarily better. I have been doing business in this are for over 20 years and have survived in very competitive markets thanks to high quality service and reasonable prices. I cannot honour Sunvolts warranty but would be happy to do whatever possible to help any of their clients if they are incurring problems with their systems. I sell, install and maintain all the same equipmentthat Sunvolts offered so I am very familiar with their product.

  • Kathryn
    on August 1, 2011

    We also just installed a sun volts system and have had a very bad experience as they closed before finishing the install. Do you know what is our recourse for warranties on the individual products? Ie the xantrax inverter, outback system, etc. They didn’t correctly hook up the generator and blew our microwave!

  • Marg
    on August 3, 2011

    How awful! It sounds as if we have very different systems but with ours, all the materials are fully warranted by the manufacturers. We also had an electrical safey inspection before connection – was that not required on yours? I feel so bad for you.

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