solar FAQ

With our experience in residential, rural, and commercial solar installations, we’re here to answer your questions and help you find the best solution for your energy requirements.

Alberta is so far north. Is it even worth putting up solar panels?

Don’t let our cold winters deceive you. Alberta gets as many as 333 sunny days a year on average, and receives high amounts of solar energy, particularly across the southern region. This abundance of solar energy is also what gave this province its large fossil fuel reserves.

Is solar energy that much cleaner than fossil fuels?


Solar modules require materials (metals, glass, etc.) that are energy intensive to mine, manufacture and dispose of. But studies indicate these total life-cycle emissions from solar energy are far lower than emissions produced by an equivalent amount of natural gas (12x) or coal (20x) energy. Moreover, solar-PV systems will make up for (offset) their life-cycle emissions within 2-3 years.

Do I need batteries with my solar panels?

Most commercial and residential buildings use a grid-tied system, meaning the solar generated is used first in the building, and any excess flows onto the grid instead of being stored in batteries. When the panels aren’t generating enough to cover consumption, energy is simply pulled from the grid. On your electricity bill, you will be charged for what you get from the grid, but you will also be credited if your solar overproduces.

Is there regular maintenance involved?

None. Modules have no moving parts, and are tested to withstand high winds and heavy snowfall. Installers can also add “critter guards” to prevent birds and animals from moving in.

But will my solar modules work if they’re covered in snow, or if they are dusty?

Snow loading will only cost you about 6% of energy potential throughout the year, and systems are typically sized to produce more in summer to account for any such losses in winter. Rain also keeps modules clean in warm weather, so clearing snow or dust is more of a risk to your safety than a benefit to the system.

What about hail? Is it going to damage my solar panels?

The chances of hail damage are extremely low. Panels are designed with tempered glass, similar to vehicle windshields, and are installed at an angle, which deflects and lessens the force of any hailstones.

How do I start the process of installing solar panels?

Following an initial consultation, Newo conducts an on-site assessment of the roof or site dimensions, electrical capacity, and obstructions (such as trees) that may affect system efficiencies.

How much solar do I need?

Using your energy bills from the past year, Newo will design a solar system that matches your budget, energy needs, and your site, providing you with a detailed description of the design and cost.

Can I put up as much solar as I want and sell it back to the grid?

Alberta’s microgeneration regulations restrict the size of your system to what you consume. While there may be times when your solar overproduces for what you need and you can sell it back to the grid, you cannot build a system significantly larger than what your energy bills indicate you use annually. On the plus side, residential solar power producers in Alberta no longer have to go through the same permitting process as a large coal power plant!

Do I need to apply for special permits?

Our experienced staff will take on every aspect of the installation process, including all necessary permitting and applications.

How will I know how much energy my panels are generating?

Newo will install a monitoring system to display live production data and other information on how your new system is functioning. You can also track energy generation and use through a smartphone application called Sense.

Will my solar panels stop working after the warranty runs out?

The majority of solar panels are warrantied for 25-30 years to work at 80-85% efficiency. After your warranty is up, however, the annual decrease in efficiency is minimal. Some panels installed in the ’70s and ’80s are still running at around 65% efficiency, and solar technology has vastly improved since then.

Is there any funding available to help pay for my system?

The Canada Greener Homes Loan allows eligible homeowners to access an interest-free loan of up to $40K to reduce their energy footprint. In some municipalities you can also apply for CEIP.

What is the payback period?

On average, your solar PV system will pay for itself within 8-12 years, depending on the size.

Still have questions?