Photovoltaic (Solar Electricity)

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight to electricity.

North Vancouver residence generating solar photovoltaic electricity

North Vancouver residence generating solar photovoltaic electricity – in fact they are Net Zero over the year!

We supply and install all of the equipment for both off-grid and grid-tie solar photovoltaic electricity systems.  We have installed photovoltaic systems in municipalities across Metro Vancouver, including the first grid-tied photovoltaic systems in the districts of Vancouver and North Vancouver.  Our extensive experience with BC Hydro’s Net Metering Program will make your grid connection a simple and painless experience.  BC Hydro’s Net Metering Program allows BC Hydro customers to connect their solar photovoltaic systems directly to the grid, allowing customers to efficiently offset their electricity consumption, and even provide credit if they produce more electricity than they consume.

Before you buy or install a photovoltaic system, we recommend having an assessment done to estimate the solar energy potential at your site. Please visit our assessments page to see the different types of assessments or contact us if you would like further information.

We sell and install equipment from a wide variety of manufacturers including:

Photovoltaic Panels: Day4 Energy, Conergy, Sharp, BP Solar, SolarFun, SunTech, Canadian Solar, Trina, LG, Heliene
Inverters: Xantrex, Enphase, SMA, Outback, Fronius, SMA, APSystems, SolarEdge,

Solar photovoltaic electricity systems are a robust and excellent way to add home equity.  Start reducing your electricity bills and environmental impact today!

Frequently Asked Questions - Photovoltaics

How do I determine if a system is worth it financially?

We offer a service to provide an assessment report for the various renewable energy technologies. The assessment will present the predicted system performance and provide financial analysis of the project. The assessment costs start at $200 and the amount will be credited against the cost of installing your system if you choose VREC as your supplier and installer.

How do I obtain a free quote?

If you you know what size system you are interested in we can provide a quote.  Please use  our Contact Us form or call us at 778.869.8333.

How much does PV cost?

Small portable systems start at about $2,000  We have designed and installed residential systems ranging from $7,000 – $45,000.  Systems for commercial buildings can range from $10,000 to $200,000.

These prices include all equipment, installation work, electrical permits and utility paperwork.  The range in price is primarily affected by the system size.

If you know what size system you are looking for we can provide a quote.  If you provide an address we can use aerial photography to produce a remote estimate. If you want more information about the energy potential of your site we also offer the service of performing an assessment. The assessment report presents system performance and finanacial analysis for the potential project. Assessments prices start at $250. The assessment cost would be credited against the cost of installing your system if you choose VREC as your supplier and installer.

Can I buy just the panels?

Yes, we sell the individual sub-system parts. Photovoltaic panels have been constantly decreasing in price so please Contact Us to ask about updated pricing or for more detailed information.

And, as always, we offer our experienced installation crew to ensure your panels achieve maximum efficiency!

How will it work for my building?

Ideally the building should have a roof surface that allows panels to be mounted facing south with little or no shading.  We recommend booking an  assessment with VREC.  This consultation will provide you with a report on your building’s suitability for solar and what the costs and output will be for your specific conditions. Cost of this assessment is credited against your purchase of a system and installation from us.

Is there enough sun here?

Solar energy production for selected cities in BC, Germany and Japan

Solar energy production for selected cities in BC, Germany and Japan

Yes, there is enough sun in rainy Metro Vancouver to generate electricity. The nation that generates the largest percentage of its electricity from photovoltaics is Germany and most of that country receives less annual sunlight than Vancouver. In fact solar energy provides 100% of the electricity needed for this small, energy conserving household in North Vancouver.


Solar Isolation Germany vs BC


Will PV pay for itself?

BC has some of the lowest priced electricity in the world.  So, over the short term the financial payback of PV on grid-connected buildings does not look good.  However, if you evaluate the financials over the lifetime of the system it will have a positive net return on investment.   Currently, a PV system is more like a hybrid vehicle; it does save some money, but is generally installed more for environmental or energy security benefits. It is definitely more cost-effective for off-grid buildings.

Can I see a PV system that you have installed?

You can see and inspect one of our installations at the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, and we will happily give you a tour of their system. This is the first grid-tied PV system in Vancouver, designed and installed by VREC.  See our portfolio for more pictures of installations.

Can I sell excess power to BC Hydro? Are there any grants or incentives?

Since 2004 BC Hydro has allowed renewable energy systems to connect directly to the grid, allowing you to “sell” surplus power to the grid.  The BC Hydro program is called Net-Metering. The historical energy credit for annual excess power that BC Hydro has offered is shown below. VREC has installed the first such systems in Vancouver and North Vancouver. We also have experience arranging for permits and grid interconnection in municipalities that are unfamiliar with photovoltaics.

Historical BC Hydro Energy Credit Rates

Historical BC Hydro Energy Credit Rates

The BC LiveSmart grant for photovoltaic systems ended in 2014.

Can I be completely independent in case the power goes out?

If you want to be completely off-grid or to have fuel and noise free backup power in an emergency, you can add a battery bank to store the power on-site for later use.  VREC can also custom design back-up systems, for example a generator/PV hybrid, where a gas generator will automatically turn on when the power from solar charged batteries is gone.

How do I get started on making my home solar electric?

Call VREC at 778-918-3973 to schedule an assessment of your building. An assessment includes a quote, shade analysis and report. Cost for this consulting service is currently starts at $200 for a residential photovoltaic system.  This cost is credited against the price of a system purchased from and installed by VREC. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like further information.

What do VREC clients think of their systems?

“I would like to thank you guys for all your help in getting the Solar system installed. It has been a few years since I started this project and it was awesome to see it actually happen in just a few days. Your help certainly made the process easier, faster, and I feel much more confident that by going this route, as opposed to DIY, that the electrical work was done professionally and will pass inspection with flying colours. Darren did a great job of managing the project, getting everyone involved, and his attention to detail would make any Virgo happy.”
– Doug Horn, North Vancouver*

* Featured on the cover of Home Power magazine summer 2007.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like further information.



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