Solar FAQs & Education
Common Questions About Solar Energy
Understanding the basics of solar energy
For new or prospective solar customers, understanding solar power may seem overwhelming at first. Our team of experts are happy to share our vast knowledge base to help our customers understand the basics and the details on how solar energy works. miEnergy is a trustworthy partner in your journey to solar, and we know the terrain well.
How Solar Works
Learn more about how sunlight is transformed into energy, and how your solar project connects to the power grid.
The hard work of converting sunlight into direct current (DC) sunlight is done by solar panels, one of the four main components used to convert sunlight into electricity.
After the solar panels convert sunlight into usable energy, this energy flows into the system’s inverters. Inverters convert the DC electricity to an alternating current (AC) for use in your space.
The AC flows from the inverter(s) to the distribution panel. The electricity then makes its way to the building for your use. Excess electricity can be sent to the utility grid to offer you a bill discount.
The meter is used to measure the flow of electricity to and from the utility grid.
Ground vs. Roof Mount
Your location will be the largest variable when choosing between a ground mount and a roof mount. Because they use your existing roof structure as a foundation, roof mounts are typically less expensive and take up less room on your property. While they do take up more space, ground mounts are easier to access for installation, maintenance and repair work. They also provide you with more control over the orientation of your array, making adjustments possible to maximize production. Here are a few of the differences:
G-Series: Ground Mount
Applications: Rural acreages and agriculture. Area where space is not an issue
Panel Types: Silver frame 72 cell panels
Racking: Fence-less construction with 18-ft I-beams
Inverter Type: String inverter or micro-inverter
R-Series: Roof Mount
Applications: Urban and rural. Any structure with south facing roof exposure
Panel Types: Black frame 60 cell panels
Racking: Rail-less racking with black front skirting
Inverter Type: String inverter or micro-inverter
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I save money?
Savings come from the difference between a financed monthly payment and what your utility bill would be without solar. When you purchase, you lock in your power cost, and savings grow as utility rates continue to rise year after year.
How much does implementing solar cost?
Most customers choose to finance their solar system. There are many financing and leasing options available (check the Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba incentives pages). In most cases, your payment will be less than your power bill from the utility. Your savings over the lifetime of the system can be substantial.
How do I know if my panels are producing?
Systems equipped with an energy monitoring program can be viewed in real time on any computer, smartphone or tablet. You can see the production history and get alerts for any problems that may occur.
Will my home have a two-way meter?
When your system is producing more power than you’re using, the power gets sent back to the utility grid, and you receive credit. When you use more power than you are producing, say during the night, you draw on your credits from the utility grid.
Do solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. The prairies have great capacity for solar energy as they receive more sunny days than most places in Canada. Solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night.
What happens if there is snow on solar panels?
Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow, they can’t produce electricity. MiEnergy installs solar panels at an angle, so in most cases, snow slides right off. If snow does gather on your panels, a quick sweep is all they need to get back to producing.
Will solar work on my home?
Not every home has the same solar potential. Unobstructed southern exposure is necessary to maximize energy harvesting. If your home is not adequate, we won’t sell you a system. It’s just that simple.
How does solar impact my property values?
Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation, likely around $10,000.
How much will solar energy maintenance cost?
Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels regularly. If something does happen, miEnergy will be there with our Power Pledge guarantee to get you back up and running.
How do I get started?
It’s simple: receive a free no obligation quote by contacting us here, and we will have a MiEnergy Energy Advisor contact you to provide a customized analysis of your needs.
What do you need from me to get started?
1-year summary – 2 years is better – of your electricity bills. Plus, the location of your land or your address – we can design your system based on that.
Can I further insure my panels?
Yes, solar array systems can be added onto an existing home insurance package.
What about solar shingles?
Solar shingles are the latest innovation in the solar industry, but they aren’t quite ready for mass commercialization just yet. As soon as it becomes feasible, miEnergy will be the first in our market to make it part of our offerings.
Can I expand on an existing system?
Yes, we can always expand your system down the road.
What products and hardware do you use?
We partner with manufacturers that offer the best products accompanied with the best warranties. It’s our responsibility to deliver the best of the best in the industry to our customers, which allows us to guarantee your production with our Power Pledge.
Solar Energy Resources
Diving deeper into solar power production
There’s a lot to know about solar energy. The good thing is, there are a ton of great resources out there! Check out some of these if you’re interested in taking a deeper dive.
- Small scale wind or solar more economical? It’s no contest
- Can Switching to Solar Panels Save Me Money?
- How localized solar will compete with offsite renewables
- 6 Myths About the Solar Market
- Canada’s Solar Market To Enter A New Phase
- Rooftop Solar Brings Higher Home Appraisals
- What is Solar Power? | National Geographic
- How does solar power work, anyway?
Video 1: How to read your net metering bill
Once you have a solar system installed, the format of your electricity bill will change. In this video, we’ll walk you through understanding your new net metered power bill.
Video 2: Net Metering Explained
Net metering allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime, instead of when it is generated.
Video 3: How Solar Works
Solar PV (photovoltaic) cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. They rely on the photoelectric effect: the ability of matter to emit electrons when a light is shone on it.