Frequently Asked Questions

Renewable Energy Design & Installation Specialists

Let us help you design and build the right renewable energy system for your needs.

Small Planet Energy has been specializing in on and off-grid residential and commercial renewable energy systems since 2009. Our areas of expertise include grid-connected solar systems for homes and businesses, electric vehicle charging solutions, off-grid power systems, harnessing multiple renewable energy sources and energy storage systems. 

We would be happy to design and build you the renewable energy system for your home or business needs. Have questions? Call 250-202-7574 or email today!

Which areas does Small Planet Energy provide service?

Small Planet Energy headquarters are in Campbell River, BC, on Vancouver Island and provides service across Vancouver Island, neighbouring islands and coastal communities.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy that comes from limitless sources such as the sun, wind and water. Renewable energy is also known as green energy because it produces 10-20% less carbon emissions than energy created by fossil fuels.  Here on the west coast of Canada, we are very fortunate to be able to access a wide variety of renewable energy sources to meet our energy needs.

What is the best renewable energy source for my home or business?

Small Planet Energy has worked on a variety of solar, wind and micro-hydro projects since 2009.   Wind and micro-hydro projects are excellent; however, they require a sizeable amount of land or water to make an installation possible.   For this reason, the majority of our commercial and residential customers are choosing solar PV installations as their renewable energy source of choice.  Solar installations provide an excellent return on investment, are attractive, come with a 25-year warranty, can easily and safely be installed on roofs or on land with ground mounts and are excellent at generating electricity.

Is solar energy a good choice in south-western BC?

Yes!  We are lucky on the coast of BC, because we have excellent solar production. Compared to a place like Berlin, Germany (similar latitude and one of the leading countries for solar production), we get about 10-15% more sun on average per year.  In addition, being in a cooler climate, compared to a place like California, improves solar module efficiency, as module efficiency decreases with ambient heat.

What is the cost of a solar installation?

An average residential solar installation is between 14-26 panels, generates about 6000 to 11,000 kw hours of energy per year, offsets between 50-100% of an average home’s electricity, costs $12,000 to $24,000 to complete and comes with a 25-year output warranty.  In addition, solar installations increase the value of an average home by 2-5%.  They are an excellent return on investment.

Request your free consultation today!

How does solar energy work?

Solar PV (photovoltaic) systems produce direct current (DC) electricity when exposed to sunlight. This electricity goes through inverters, which converts it into alternating current (AC). AC electricity is what is used by household appliances and is what is provided from local utility grids.

With off-grid installations, solar energy is stored in batteries and is then converted to AC electricity through an inverter.  With grid-tie installations, when solar panels produce more electricity than a household needs, the excess electricity is absorbed by the grid, (in our area this is BC Hydro), and kept as a credit to be used in the future. This is the net metering system. 

View infographic about how the BC Hydro Net Metering System works.

If the power goes out and I have a grid-tie system, will I also lose power?

Not necessarily. If you invest in a battery backup system, you will have power while the rest of your neighbourhood will be in darkness.

What is involved in solar panel maintenance?

Solar panels have no moving parts and will require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power.  To keep your panels functioning optimally, we recommend that you clean them once per year, after pollen season. Solar panels can’t produce electricity when covered in snow, however the angle of most installations will ensure the snow will easily slide off.

What is the process involved in getting a solar installation?

Our process is typically 3 steps:

Step 1 – Free site assessment and consultation with our Small Planet team to discuss your energy goals. 

Step 2 – You are provided with a custom solar energy system proposal, outlining system size and specifications.

Step 3 – Small Planet takes care of permit approvals and net-metering requirements.  Once the paperwork is in place, we complete your installation.  Typical residential installations take an average of 2-4 days to complete. 

Start your solar project today!

Have a question you don’t see in this list? Give us a call at 250-202-7574, email, use our contact form or message us on Facebook.

Federal government grant available!

Receive up to $5,000 from the Canadian federal government for going solar.

Request your personalized estimate today!

Have a question you don’t see in this list? Give us a call at 250-202-7574, use our contact form or message us on Facebook.