Need an Electrician? How to Spot an Unlicensed Electrician.

Hire only licensed electricians.
Licensed Electrical Contractors (LEC)
 are the only businesses in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work in your home. Working with an LEC helps protect you and your family from electrical hazards or costly mistakes. It’s not worth the risk to hire an unlicensed individual.

Here’s how you can spot UNLICENSED electrical contractors:

  • They ask you to take out the permit with the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • They don’t have an ESA/ECRA licence number on their work vehicle.
  • Their estimate doesn’t include an ESA/ECRA licence number or ESA fees for the permit.
  • They can’t show you their ESA/ECRA licence when you ask for it.
  • They do more than just electrical work including drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, eavestrough cleaning, and other home maintenance and improvement work.
  • You found their name on the Internet and the only way to contact them was to email a general mailbox and they respond to your inquiry by phone.
  • They say you don’t need to involve ESA and you don’t need a permit.
  • They offer a discount if you pay cash, accept only cash and/or won’t provide a receipt.
  • They show up in a labelled work van but operate under a different name.
  • They ask you to purchase all the supplies.
  • They work only on nights and/or weekends.
  • They say you don’t need to involve your local electric utility to change your electrical panel or upgrade your electrical service.
  • Your General Contractor insists he has an LEC doing work but he can’t produce an electrical permit and you never see a vehicle with an ESA/ECRA licence on it.
  • They tell you “If anyone asks, tell them that you did the work yourself.”

Rest assured, Eco Alternative Energy is fully licensed (ECRA/ESA #7006273) and insured for your protection.  All our employees are fully covered by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).  Get the job done right the first time by hiring and expert: Eco-Alternative Energy!  Learn more about licensed electricians. You can contact us here.

We currently service most of Eastern Ontario including towns and villages from Belleville to Ottawa, Kingston, Perth, Calabogie, Pembroke, Denbigh, Napanee, Brockville and areas in between.

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Need A Electrical Contractor? Why Hire Eco Alternative Energy?

Electrical wiring by ESA Authorized ContractorIf you are looking for an Electrical Contractor to wire your home or business, perform renovations that involve electrical wiring or changing of circuits ensure you hire a licensed electrician.  This protects the consumer and will give you piece-of-mind that the job is done right and compliant with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

ESA’s Authorized Contractor Program

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) operates a program called the Authorized Contractor Program which accepts contractors who are consistently compliant with Ontario Electrical Code regulations.  This is a voluntary program  but if a contractor is recognized by the ESA program several advantages to the contractor may be received and passed along to the consumer.

Participating Contractors and their customers can experience:

  • uninterrupted workflow
  • reduced electrical service downtime during renovation
  • increased compliance to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code equating to increased electrical safety
  • audits of electrical installation as opposed to full electrical inspections
  • reduced costs for Electrical Safety Authority inspection services

A LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR:

  • Is fully insured to protect customers
  • Employs only certified electricians
  • Arranges electrical permits and inspections
  • Can provide a Certificate of Inspection 

How do you spot an unlicensed electrical contractor?  

Rest assured, Eco Alternative Energy is fully licensed (ECRA/ESA #7006273) and insured for your protection.  All our employees are fully covered by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).  Get the job done right the first time by hiring and expert: Eco-Alternative Energy!  You can contact us here.

We currently service most of Eastern Ontario including towns and villages from Belleville to Ottawa, Kingston, Perth, Calabogie, Pembroke, Denbigh, Napanee, Brockville and areas in between.

 

 

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Standby Generator Installation – Sharbot Lake, Kingston, Ottawa, Perth, Smith Falls and Region

Eco Alternative Energy in Sharbot Lake installs generators.

If you need back-up or standby power look no further. Eco Alternative Energy are experts in providing carefree power generation for your home, cottage or business. Using industry leading Generac generators and Generlink connectivity to your home you will never worry about being without power again!

With a focus on leading the market in generators and accessories for backup power applications, Generac is a premium choice for home and business back up power during an outage.

Our team of electrical experts will take the worry out of sizing your generator needs, generator location, installation and finally – electrical hook-up.  You want to be sure the electrical connection is done right – so hire an expert!  We make sure it’s not only done right, but it looks good too!

We are fully insured and licensed with the ESA- Authorized Contracting Program,  All our staff are covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for your protection.

We service most of Eastern Ontario too!  If you have a cottage or home that is off the beaten path contact us!  We service cottage country including the Land O’ Lakes (Cloyne, Sharbot Lake, Lanark, Ompah, Tamworth), Kingston and Ottawa regions.

Call Anne or Ron at 866-976-3749 or use our contact form.

 

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Electrical Contractor- Eco Alternative Energy- Kingston, Ottawa, Napanee, Sharbot Lake, Perth

Eco Alternative Energy has licensed electricians on staff.You  may think of Eco Alternative Energy as a solar and alternative energy installation company – which we are!  But we are also busy with electrical contracting both residential and commercial!

Being in business since 2005 has given us lots of experience with a variety of installations. Much of our business comes from word-of-mouth.  Check out our customer testimonials.

We are Electrical Contractor Licence #7006273 and fully insured. Rest assured all our staff are fully covered by Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for your protection.

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Solar Installations, MICROFIT Systems by EcoAlternative Energy

SOLAR SYSTEMS BY ECO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY.  THE OPA IS  STILL ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS.10kW MicroFIT system

The costs have dropped dramatically over the introduction of the Feed In Tariff and if you were ever contemplating this investment now is the time. We will do up all the paperwork to make it effortless on your part and our pricing includes turnkey systems. The contract is for 20 years! and is still a great return on your investment. Contact us for a free evaluation of your location and we will let you know what your annual return will be and answer any questions that you may have.

Call today: 866-976-3749 and ask for Anne or Ron!

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Solar Panel Installation- Perth, Lanark, Balderson & Area

Balderson Ontario 10kw solar panel installation

Balderson Ontario 10kw solar installation

Since Eco Alternative Energy is based in Sharbot Lake, Ontario it would be logical to assume we do many projects close to home!  This 10 kw solar panel installation project was a grid tie project close to the town of Balderson.

Here is a customer testimonial:

“We are thrilled with our microFIT grid-tie system. Having been so impressed with your installation of our back-up panel system in 2006, we had no hesitation in asking you to put together and install this major project for us.
You have the knowledge, skill and attention to detail that we admire, and your careful and accurate workmanship is second to none. Added to this is great value for money, always an important consideration. Another significant advantage is your well-established relationship with the other parties involved in setting up these projects: the Electrical Safety Authority, Ontario Hydro, Hydro One networks and the Ontario Power Authority. That’s a lot to deal with, and we were grateful to have you do it for us so seamlessly!
Our 44 panels were installed in 2 1/2 days, and 2 weeks later, we started to produce power for the grid: income for us, and a contribution to the environment (clean power and carbon dioxide saved from going in to the air – 750 lbs in a little over 2 weeks!)” Cynthia

For more solar panel testimonials from Balderson, Perth, Lanark and area please visit our testimonials page or contact our office.

 

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How much does it cost to install solar panels in Ontario (home /residential)?

If you’ve been considering solar for your home or business, we’re pretty sure you’ve also been thinking about how much it’s going to cost you. We’ll try and narrow the basics down as much as possible here so you have a fair idea of the costs involved.

Cost of installing solar panels on a roof in Ontario

Cost of installing solar panels on a roof in Ontario

First of all, the question is a little tricky because it depends on a number of factors, namely

  1. How many panels you can fit on your best roof faces
  2. The type of panels you choose
  3. The type of inverters used

Before we go too far talking about installation costs, it is important to note that the price of solar panels fluctuates in the Ontario market so we suggest you contact a reputable solar installation company and have them quote you based on your particular installation. Even so, let’s look at some numbers so you have more information than just the fact that it “depends on a couple of factors”.

At today’s pricing, a solar system would typically cost you anywhere from $20,000 – $40,000 in Ontario depending on the size of the system (40k for a 10 kW system and 20K for a 4.5 kW system). We understand that the cost may seem a little bit high but here’s the good news – depending on the size of your solar system, a homeowner can expect to earn a 10% or greater return on their investment under Ontario’s Solar incentive program. Your actual return will depend on the pitch of your roof(s), how your roof(s) face in relation to due south and if there are any shade factors to consider (shadows are a solar panels worst enemy). Where else in today’s economy can you expect to earn 10% or better return on your money!

Enjoy a great return on investment with Solar in Ontario

Enjoy a great return on investment with Solar in Ontario

 

So let’s say you have enough space on your roof(s) to install a 10 kW solar system (Ontario’s MicroFIT program allows for a system the size of 10kW or less). In this case you would be looking at an investment of $ 40,000 plus tax (don’t worry about the tax as you can apply to receive all of this back). In this case you can expect to earn over $4,000 each year for 20+ years meaning that it will take you about 8-10 years to pay back your initial investment (with the money you earn each month by selling the electricity your system generates back to your hydro company) and after your system is paid for, the remaining 10+ years of income you’ll receive will be money coming to you. Ontario’s micro-FIT program guarantees the rate that your Hydro company pays you for 20 years so long as you are willing to sell them your electricity. Solar panels come with a 25 year warranty, yet you can expect them to last for 25-35 years.

When you are in talks with your solar installer be sure to ask them what costs are included in the price and what costs are not. There should be no expensive,nor unpleasant surprises. At Eco Alternative Energy, we believe that our customers have the right to complete transparency which is why we include the following components in all of our installations (this is also a good checklist to go over with your solar installer):

  1. Solar Panels (we’ll go over options & pricing with you)
  2. Rails & Flashing units
  3. Inverter(s) & monitoring
  4. Permits (varies per jurisdiction)
  5. Design
  6. Complete system wiring, disconnects & sub panels
  7. Engineering (if required)
  8. Labour
  9. Electrical
  10. Assistance with OPA & Hydro paperwork
  11. Squirrel Guard

We hope this post provided you with some added knowledge on solar pricing and the approximate rates of return. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop us a message below and we’d be happy to answer your questions! You can also call us toll-free at 1-866-976-3749. To read more about solar and related topics follow our blog !

Tip: Be sure to checkout our post on How do I know if my house is right for Solar? to know what the basic requirements are for getting solar panels installed on your roof.

If you are in Ontario, Canada and would like a free online evaluation of your property for solar, feel free to fill out the form below and one of our experts will get in touch with you in shortly.

Author: Derek Wilson

 

 

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Grid Tied vs Off Grid Solar Electric Systems: Which option is better for you?

Grid – Tied Solar Installation Completed by Eco Alternative Energy in Spring 2011

Grid – Tied Solar Installation Completed by Eco Alternative Energy in Spring 2011

If you’re wondering which of these two options are better for you, then you’re at the right blog!

Let’s face it, we would all like to be off the grid generating our own electricity and telling our local hydro company not to bother sending us another bill – ever! It’s also nice to take comfort that during a thunder-storm when the lights go out, you’ll be watching TV with your lights on while your neighbours sit in the dark. It’s a pleasant thought however not always practical, economical or to your benefit.

First of all, just in case some readers are not sure about what Grid Tied or Off Grid Solar electric systems are, here’s the difference -

Grid Tied Solar Electric System:

 In this case, your solar system generates power through your solar panels and you sell ALL of that power to your hydro company at a preferred rate (often guaranteed for 20 years). You will then buy electricity (including your clean solar electricity that you produce) as you normally would however you will buy this power at the standard lower rates for electricity that we all pay.

To take part in this Provincial Solar incentive program, (called the MicroFIT program in Ontario), you would be required to apply to the Ontario Power Authority for approval. To be eligible, you are required to own your home and your system cannot exceed 10 kW’s in total. Your Solar installation company can help you navigate through the approval process. ( In case you want to know if your home is fit for solar you can find out the requirements here)

One of our head installers installing a Grid Tied Solar Electric System

One of our head installers installing a Grid Tied Solar Electric System

If you look at your hydro bill, you’ll see that here in Ontario, we all buy our electricity at a rate of 6.7-12.4 cents per kWh (depending on the time of day). Under the MicroFIT program, generating electricity with solar power and selling it to the grid will pay you a premium rate per kWh (current June 2013 MicroFIT rates are at 54.9 cents per kWh) and that rate is guaranteed for 20 years! Since the average Solar system costs between $25-$40,000 before taxes, you can expect your investment to pay for itself in about 8-10 years. As your OPA contract runs for 20 years, the remaining 10-12 years will be money in your pocket.

Off Grid Solar Electric System:

For Off Grid systems, you are completely off the grid as your system generates power through your solar panels and that power is used for your own consumption. In this case, you will require batteries to store that power to be used in the evening or on cloudy and low producing days.

The trouble with Off Grid Solar systems is that you need to truly understand your electricity consumption and then you need to build the size of your array to the worst month of the year (let’s say January) so that it will still meet your minimum daily requirements. With Off Grid systems, you now need to purchase and hold a bank of batteries (amount and size of batteries to be determined by the size of the system) to store the electricity you generate. Batteries are not cheap and they typically only last about 10 years before they need to be replaced. Chances are, you will need a back-up generator for the times when your system is not be able to meet your requirements in the worst producing months of the year. These batteries can add at least a third of the cost of what a Grid Tie Solar system would be. Lastly, an off grid system is a lifestyle change as you need to conserve electricity wherever possible.

At the end of the day both systems have their merit. Off Grid systems work best in areas of the Province where you cannot connect to the grid in any other way, typically in rural settings. Grid Tie systems are better in an Urban environment where Hydro is readily available.

If you’re curious about your home and want to see how much a Solar system on your roof can generate, please feel free to drop us a line below or call us at 1-866-976-3749.

Author: Derek Wilson

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Do Solar Panels Increase the Price of Your Home?

This is a great question and one asked often before making an investment in residential Solar system on the roof of a home.

In Ontario, we don’t quite have enough history yet to prove that adding Solar will in fact increase the value of your home. Having said that, in the U.S where Solar has been around longer than Ontario, the evidence suggests that having a Solar system could very well increase your property’s value.

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2011/04/21/bright-spot-for-solar/ ) in 2011 found that homes that have solar electric systems installed actually have a better market value and sell for better prices as compared to those houses that do not. The study brought to light the fact that homes that have PV solar panels installed sold for a premium that ranged from $3.90 – $6.40/watt of capacity, averaging to about$5/watt.

Solar Panels Improve Home Sale Prices ! – An Installation By Eco Alternative Energy

Solar Panels Improve Home Sale Prices ! – An Installation By Eco Alternative Energy

Another study conducted by NBER ( National Bureau of Economic Research) also found that solar panels did increase the value of a home at the point of sale by 3 – 4%. The two findings are complimentary to each other and point to one conclusion.

Why?  Well, let’s play a simple scenario for you.  Let’s say that you decide to move after 12 years of your 20 year contract with the Ontario Power Authority.  By this point, your system should be completely paid off and you are now benefiting by receiving monthly cheques from your local Hydro Company.  Now, not only are you selling your home, but you’re also selling a source of income associated with your Solar system!  You should be able to easily show past years performance numbers of how much you made.  That has value and is attractive to potential buyers because it is a potential lucrative income stream to them.  Think about it, now they may be able to afford a bigger mortgage as a result of that additional income.

You could say that Solar is kind of like having a basement apartment with a renter except unlike a renter, Solar systems don’t make any noise, and Hydro companies have lots of money so they pay their monthly cheques on time!

So it’s a win -win situation whether you decide to sell your home or not. And all this while saving the environment! – Super! In case you are curious about how much it would cost to install solar here’s a post where you can find out : How much does a solar power system cost? And if you have any questions about solar before you take the plunge give us a shout at 1-866-976-3749 or simply drop us a message below with your questions.

Author: Derek Wilson

 

 

 

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Moving after installing solar: What happens to my OPA contract if I move?

A Solar System installed by Eco Alternative Energy recently on a residential roof

A Solar System installed by Eco Alternative Energy recently on a residential roof

Many have asked this very question and we’re happy to explain it. The fate of the OPA contract (Ontario Power Authority) after an owner decides to move is a real concern for a lot of people. Not to worry, because the OPA has simplified this process for homeowners. At the time of sale, a seller can run into two scenarios, so let’s look at both of them: 1) Seller wants to sell the solar power system along with the house: The OPA anticipates that sellers would include their renewable energy systems as part of the sale of their homes. In this case, the microFIT contract can be assigned to the purchaser, as follows: For version 1.3 or 1.4 OPA Contracts, a Supplier may assign the Contract to any legal entity. For version 1.5, 1.6, 1.6.1 or 2 OPA Contracts, a Supplier may assign the Contract to another Eligible Participant. For a complete list of Eligible Participants, please refer to the applicable microFIT Eligible Participant Schedule. The new contract holder would receive payments in accordance with the microFIT contract for the remainder of the contract term. 2) Seller wants to sell the house but not the solar power system: If you wish to take your project with you to your new residence, your contract will be terminated when your local distribution company account is closed and your connection agreement with your local distribution company is terminated. You have the option of applying for a new contract once the project is connected at your new residence but there is no guarantee you will be awarded a contract at the new location. So there you are. In case you are wondering how will installing solar panels affect your home’s selling price, here’s an excellent post we did that tells you all about it: Do Solar Panels Improve the Price of Your Home? But if you have other questions on solar feel free to leave a comment on this post or drop us a message below. Or if you’re looking to speak to a solar specialist, call us at 1-866-976-3749 today. Author: Derek Wilson Visit us at www.ecoaltenergy.com.

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