Solar panels and your home insurance

2 minute read Published on Mar 30, 2017 by BrokerLink Communications

Solar panels and your home insurance

Renewable energy resources are being developed at an increasing rate worldwide and as renewable technologies become more cost efficient there are options for homeowners to invest themselves.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, solar energy production capacity in Canada increased by over 1,000 per cent from 2010 to 2015. Given increasing public awareness and interest by homeowners to invest in solar power, be sure you understand the insurance implications.

Understanding how solar panels work

Solar panels convert the energy of the sun to create energy through photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. These PV systems use a combination of silicone and conductors encased in protective glass. In most residential cases, a mounting system is used to secure the panels to a building’s roof.

Provincial jurisdictions may have specific legislation regarding building codes for solar panel installation. Most homeowners elect to hire contractors who specialize in solar panel installations. Having solar panels installed onto your home’s existing structure could be a considerable home renovation and has an insurance impact.

Ontario and Alberta rebate or credit programs as of 2017

FIT in Ontario

Ontario’s FIT program or Feed-in-Tariff is specifically designed for homeowners who have installed solar panels on their home to feed back into the power grid. Homeowners are paid a fixed price for a 20-year term for electricity produced and returned to the power grid. The program has its own requirements and criteria to participate in the program.

For the FIT program, some insurance companies have developed a specific floater coverage for solar panel systems or additional coverage as an extension of your existing home insurance policy. There are restrictions regarding power output (no more than 10 kilowatts), the floater coverage does include other forms of renewable energy (such as wind turbines) and it must be insured to 100 per cent of the value. The coverage would protect your solar panels from damage, including hail damage, and provides liability coverage for selling power back through the grid to the Ontario Power Authority.

Installation rebates in Alberta

In Alberta, the provincial government recently announced a rebate program for residential and commercial solar panel installations. With more details due later in 2017, there may be opportunities for homeowners to save on solar panel installations.

Home-installed solar panels in Alberta are classified as micro-generation sites and the size limit include sites up to five megawatts. There are credits available for returning electricity to the grid in Alberta and the credit system is determined by the size of a micro-generation system. Systems under 150 kilowatts are credited on a monthly basis at retail rates and systems sized at over 150 kilowatts receive credits at hourly wholesale market price.

Find insurance coverage that shines

From home renovations to increased property value, there are many insurance implications to consider when installing solar panels on your property. BrokerLink works with various insurance companies to find the right coverage for customers, including those considering solar panels on their property

Contact your local BrokerLink branch to find out what solution will work best as you green your home with solar panels.