Solar Brokers Canada: “financing makes solar accessible to consumers”

For good reason, announcements made by Elon Musk these days are bound to make headlines. Last week was no exception when The Financial Post published an article entitled, “Is the sun about to set on the Age of Oil? Solar, battery developments becoming the new Black Gold”, an article that mentioned Musk’s promise of introducing to the market solar batteries that would allow for the storage of surplus solar power.

Along with highlighting Musk’s promise, the article also made a broader comment on the quiet, but rapid growth of the solar industry over the past five years, and implied that if Canada does not embrace solar energy on a broader scale and if it doesn’t diverge away from its deeply-rooted economic dependence on fossil fuels, the country will run the risk of falling behind other global economies.

The Financial Post article may serve as fair warning. This is a time after all in which global solar energy is growing in leaps and bounds. Commenting on the continued rise of solar energy, Deutsche Bank advised earlier this year that solar energy would reach grid parity with traditional forms of energy production in up to 80% percent of the global market within two years.

This is a statement that comes off the back of several recent milestone moments in the evolution of the solar industry — one being last year when Germany was able to produce for the first time half of its energy needs from solar production; the other being a similar landmark moment when Britain, a country that historically has not been at the forefront of the solar revolution, nearly doubled its solar energy capacity in 2014.

Understanding that solar energy represents the future face of global energy needs, even Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest exporting oil countries, recently broadcasted its solar-for-oil plan, a plan that sets the stage for the country to become a global power in solar energy by 2040.

The impressive acceleration of development in the solar industry can be credited to a number of factors. One of the more significant factors has been a reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic technology, and correspondingly, a reduction in the cost of solar installation.

As a result of increased investment and expansion in scale of solar technology, Deutsche Bank analysts see another 40 percent reduction in solar costs over the next two years. The fact is that even without programs like feed-in-tariff schemes and even with current low oil prices, energy produced by solar means is now able to compete on its own with fossil fuels.

The Canadian market has seen immense growth in the adoption and use of solar energy over the past five years. Not only is the country among the top 10 nations as far as installed solar panels, but according to the Canadian Trade Commissioner, annual solar capacity is forecasted to grow threefold by 2025.

Admittedly, much of that growth has been focused in Ontario, a province that has made a concerted effort to support renewable energies and, moreover, is the only province in Canada to have established a feed-in-tariff system to increase growth in the solar industry.

The province’s support of solar energy has had its effect, as more than 70 large solar farms have sprouted around the province and, thanks to reduced installation costs, an increasing number of residents in Ontario have chosen to install solar panels on their homes.

The increase in demand for solar energy has paved the way for new parties to enter the industry and companies are making it easier for individuals and businesses to take advantage of increasingly cost-effective and efficient solar technology.

Solar Brokers Canada is an example of one such company. The Toronto-based solar brokerage firm guides individuals through the entire process of qualifying for the Ontario microFIT Program as well as solar panel installation. Partnering with an array of financiers, Solar Brokers Canada offers its clients ease in financing the installation of solar panels; the company also connects its clients with its vetted, trustworthy solar panel manufacturers, distributors and installers.

Commenting on the increasing affordability of solar technology, Solar Brokers Canada’s Chief Operations Officer Joseph Barker adds, “Here in Ontario, there is an increasing amount of growth in residents who are adopting solar for their homes. Much of that has to do with our new Ontario Free Solar Program, which allows for homeowners to adopt solar for their home and enroll in the microFIT program, at no cost to them. This program has been made possible by financiers who are willing to pay for the homeowners’ solar energy systems, in return for sharing the profits from the microFIT program.”

The willingness of financiers to support the Ontario Free Solar Program demonstrates the attractiveness of the microFIT program and the return on investment for going solar within the province.

Joseph Barker notes that, “Lower costs have also come from better solar technology, as well as business models like ours that drive volume to our industry partners for the benefit of our clients. Solar Brokers Canada looks forward to continuing and further expanding this model and welcomes the opportunity to work with other players within the industry that share the same values.”

Besides Solar Brokers Canada, one other breakout star in the solar energy industry has been Canadian Solar Inc., a business, also Ontario-based, that’s become one of the world’s largest solar energy companies. Canadian Solar Inc. earned record sales last year and recently received a $50 million construction loan for the building of a brand-new solar power plant in Ontario.

Earlier this month, an article was published describing how two dozen schools in Ontario will have solar panels installed on their rooftops, which will provide green energy for the schools, as well as an educational source for students to learn more about solar power. The story is not only a heartwarming one, it’s also a testament to the increasing affordability of solar technology.

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