Renewable energy is a big part of getting to net-zero carbon emissions and for homes and businesses, solar is king. Sometimes the hardest part of a project is getting started, but don’t let that slow you down. This guide takes you through the step-by-step process to make getting solar easier than ever. 

There are two main types of solar installations to consider – solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal. Solar PV converts sunlight into electricity and requires plugging into the grid. Solar thermal collects heat from the sun for domestic hot water and doesn’t require a grid connection. Both are fantastic options for cutting carbon and CORE has incentives available for the system that works best for you. 

Solar installations are very popular right now in the RFV, with rebates, grants, and financing to help make it happen. With our 300 days of sunshine, it makes sense to consider solar but to get the most out of your investment, you will want to complete steps 1-3 of the Path to Zero first. Simple things like installing LEDs, programming your thermostat and properly sealing and insulating your space ensure you don’t waste the energy you capture.

Simple Solar Checklist:

First Things First

  • Get an energy assessment. If you have not had one in the last five years, sign up here. An assessment will show you how your home uses energy, unlocks incentives and puts you in touch with a CORE Energy Advisor.

  • Have your utility bills on hand and discuss with your energy advisor. A whole year of utility bills is ideal, but just do what you can. Keep ‘em handy since your contractor will use utility bills to make sure your system is the right size.

  • Talk to your advisor about what’s best for your home. Is it most efficient to generate electricity or directly heat water? How about Both? 

Meet with Contractors

  • Meet and get bids from multiple contractors – you can find a list of qualified contractors here

  • Find out if your home is well-suited for solar. This is based on the direction of your house (south is best), the size and pitch of your roof, how much sun you get, and other factors that determine how effective solar will be on your property.

  • Each contractor will design a system and give you an estimate on how much energy it can produce.

  • Pick the contractor that works best for you! Compare costs and quality of materials – get to know them before deciding! 

Get ‘Er Done

  • Get inspections and a permit from your local government. Your contractor will guide you through the process.

  • Install the system and plug into the grid for PV (solar thermal systems don’t require a grid connection). Your contractor will work with the utility to get approval and make the connection. 

  • Sign an agreement with your utility to start getting paid for the excess energy you produce.

Maximize Your Investment in Solar

  • Consider switching to a heat pump. The Path to Zero is all about practical electrification, and it doesn’t get much more practical than heating and cooling using electricity generated from the sun.

  • Make energy-efficient upgrades to reduce your electricity consumption. Complete steps 1-3 on the Path to Zero BEFORE going solar!

  • Think about battery storage for your excess energy. This will make your system more resilient and able to work in any weather.

  • Top it all off with an electric vehicle. That way you power your commute with the sun instead of dirty fossil fuels.


Be a part of the movement away from fossil fuels and towards a carbon free community. Get started today and contact CORE to see if solar is right for you!