Canadians

morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
Hello out there.
I am wondering if there are any Canadians out there who saw the benefit in purchasing their PV system from the US versus in Canada?
I am amazed at the price difference.
Alt-e 2 kw packaged system comes in at about 14,000 USD
Here in Canada they want to charge 27,000 USD (about 28,000 CAD) for a VERY similar system. (Different panels , but everything else the same.)

What were the hassles?
CSA, ULC issues?
duty?
brokerage fees?

Any other advice?
12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    I would like to buy stuff locally, but we have few venders close. Given that, I buy a lot of stuff in the states and have it shipped to a near border location, then I pick it up.

    For a complete system, find a retailer (I suggest our site host!) and get a price shipped to your location, or at least to a freight dock near you. Include brokerage and customs fees in the cost and see what comes cheaper. I pay GST/PST on items that I import by the each, but no duties, no brokerage etc. If memory serves you are in AB somewhere. If you can have stuff shipped to Cut Bank or Shelby or Great Falls MT, hire a rental truck and go down and pick it up, it may proof to be cheaper.

    If you do haul large loads yourself, you might wish to consult Canada Customs for any tips, but a single pick up load, as long as you have valid invoices you shouldn't have any trouble. Finding a freight terminal in N. Montana shouldn't be very hard.

    Good luck,

    Tony
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Go thru Sweetgrass.... they are asleep most of the time!
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    I would be happy to support a local company, but there just seems to be such a massive difference in prices that I find it hard to justify the cost.
    So I have no problem shipping it and paying the duty etc.
    I probably wouldn't ship the batteries as that will add to the cost a lot, but everything else seems to be do-able.
    The couple of companies I contacted quoted me about 500 for shipping and duty would add about another 200 and then add on 5% GST. But it still doesn't come close to coming out the same.
    I had thought about going to pick it up in Montana, but in the end it would probably cost close to the same amount to rent, drive, gas, a truck and my headache is priceless to be honest.

    I am having some trouble understanding the price difference. I could understand if all the companies in Canada purchased all the gear 12 years ago when the CA dollar was half that of USD. Are they taking advantage or am I missing something?
    I don't see any companies in Canada coming even close to the US prices so there must be something to it.

    Anyway, thanks for the responses.
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    probably has to do with the number of hands it has to go through before it gets to you...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Hmmm?
    They should just order retail from the US and sell the systems then.
    Seems to me the ...ahhhh whatever!
    I guess I will have to order from the US then.

    It's a real shame as I have had a lot of people tell me that they would love to not connect to the grid, but the PV cost is too high.
    One word for retailers: VOLUME.

    Thanks again.
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • 885kcdtq885kcdtq Solar Expert Posts: 27
    Re: Canadians

    Same problem here.. Even as far as batteries go. I can buy a canadian made battery cheaper from the USA, Shipped to my door than I can driving 30 min and buying locally. That is taxes out of course.
    The best Canadian pricing I've found is out of Energy alternatives in BC.
    Over the last 2-3 yrs they are getting more competative but are still a bit high.ie worth the drive south across the line.
    Still looking for the BBD on solar panels, and trying to decide on a bigger turbine.
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians
    morpho wrote: »
    Any other advice?
    Trade the US systems for Canadian medicine and chemicals, LOL.
    We can buy those from Canada at half price the same thing in US.
    GP
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Yep,

    When I first looked into having laser surgery on my eyes, it was cheaper to fly to Canada, spend a long weekend (3-4 nights as they wanted a follow up) and fly back home than to have it done locally (Raleigh/Durham) 20+ years ago.

    Now, of course any back water town seams to have the ability.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Hmmmmm....?
    Not sure if I would trade one for the other to be honest.
    But I get the impression we Canadians will be forced to do away with our subsidized medical system in the near future. The corporate pressure is on for us here in the great white north to get into the "for profit line" like everyone else.

    The cheaper medical is cheaper for you as Americans because our tax dollars have subsidized it for you. So when you come across the border we are paying for a percentage for you.......Man alive! we canadians ARE nice! ;)

    I wish it were so for the PV equipment when I cross the border. Anybody wanna buy me an Inverter?

    I just think the Canadian retailers are taking advantage in the end.
    I wish I could get a straight answer from a dealer in Canada about the prices.
    They get pretty defensive when you ask the question.

    Any retailers out there wanna jump in and fill me in on why it costs so much?
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Canadians
    morpho wrote: »
    Any retailers out there wanna jump in and fill me in on why it costs so much?

    My wife and I have a small accounting business. I can give you the short answer:

    One way or another, 50% of your income goes to taxes. That applies to everyone all along the 'economic chain' from source to retail. Now, what do you get in return? "Free" medical, and the need to put a fence around your property because they won't put them around the prisons.

    I can tell you no end of stories about how incompetent our wonderful CRA is.

    Advice: NEVER ship anything into CA via UPS.
  • heynow999heynow999 Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    There must not be much competition where you guys are. We are in Toronto and we can sell a system and deliver it to your door (in the Toronto area) for cheaper than it would cost you to drive to the US and buy it. We are a small company so we don't have a lot of advertising out there but we are working on it. I get upset with myself when I read stories about people driving to the US and paying more than we would charge. I think also in Ontario with the new Feed in tariff there are a lot of manufacturers here pushing products. We are CANsia members so we get emails every week from new companies with better and better prices.
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Thats nice to know.
    Something wrong in my mind when a system costing 14 grand in the US is being pushed for 30 here. And that seems pretty consistent with every retailer around these parts.

    I can appreciate an abundance of local competition drives the price down, but since we live in a world where i can have just about anything shipped to my door from even the darkest corners of the globe, you would think my local PV sellers would be clambering to stop the dollars flowing elsewhere.

    Ok....off to read more about PV systems...so I don't waste what little money I have on the wrong thing.

    Is it ok on this forum to ask the last poster for their business info?

    Probably not.
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    you can ask them to pm you with it. i wouldn't get in an uproar if he placed it here once at your request either, but prefer to have use of pms.
  • lotwsolarlotwsolar Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Canadians
    niel wrote: »
    you can ask them to pm you with it. i wouldn't get in an uproar if he placed it here once at your request either, but prefer to have use of pms.

    As a fellow Canadian I wouldn't mind getting his contact information either. I only signed up a few days ago and it doesn't appear that I can send PMs yet. :grr
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Canadians

    lotwsolar,

    I am sorry--We in the last few weeks a batch of spammers were sending PM's via sripts... Right now, you have to have 5 posts (I think) to send a PM to anyone other than a Moderator or Admin.

    Unfortunately, it is the world we live in...

    To test--I will send you a PM--hopefully you can receive it.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • lotwsolarlotwsolar Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Canadians

    I did recieve, and I sent you a reply, but I don't think it worked. Maybe I should try contributing more? :D
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Canadians

    I did receive it...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • lotwsolarlotwsolar Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Canadians

    Thanks. I replied.
  • heynow999heynow999 Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    I replied to the PM's

    Thanks for the interest.

    Honestly the PV business here in Ontario is still in it's infancy, and very seasonal.
  • SchmidtSchmidt Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Canadians
    morpho wrote: »
    Hello out there.
    I am wondering if there are any Canadians out there who saw the benefit in purchasing their PV system from the US versus in Canada?
    I am amazed at the price difference.
    Alt-e 2 kw packaged system comes in at about 14,000 USD
    Here in Canada they want to charge 27,000 USD (about 28,000 CAD) for a VERY similar system. (Different panels , but everything else the same.)

    What were the hassles?
    CSA, ULC issues?
    duty?
    brokerage fees?

    Any other advice?

    My name is Caleb and I believe I have been working with this gentleman as we discussed this very issue. I work for a Solar Energy company in Canada and we serve all of western Canada.

    We purchase our product, except for the batteries, directly from the US, so have to deal with all the freight, exchange rates, etc.

    The issues that we see with most people when comparing Canadian vs. American prices is most people just estimate the costs:

    1. Have you contacted a brockerage with the shipment details; location product was manufactured, etc, to ensure brokerage expense is properly calculated.

    2. Exchange Rate: Most individuals just look online utilizing a internet exchange rate calculator. However, this not accurate as exchange rates vary by purchase method and bank used.

    * If you plan on paying with a credit card, you need to contact your credit card company and check on exchange rates...you will be suprise at how much higher thay are vs. a exchange rate calculator.

    * If you plan on pay via wire transfer, you need to check with your bank to see what the exchange rate is to purchase US funds as well as the cost to make the wire transfer.

    * Freight. This is always misestimated. A shipment of this size needs to go freight; have you received a firm quote on the freight shipment based on dimensions and weight? Make sure the shipment is the right class? Freight to Canada is always 2-3x the amount of the same shipment in the US as freight generally has to connect to a Canadian carrier at the border.


    As a Canadian supplier, I am well aware of the price differences as we have to deal with the questions on a regular basis. However, as a Canadian supplier, we certainly aren't making a killing on our sales...once we factor in all the costs in getting the product to our building, the Canadian sale prices are higher.

    You look at companies that operate in companies that are located in both Countries: Conergy, AEE, etc. and it is all the same for them too.

    If this is the gentleman that I have been indeed working with, I have asked him provide me the total cost to get the system to his door from the US and I will do my best to match the price.
  • morphomorpho Solar Expert Posts: 167 ✭✭✭
    Re: Canadians

    Hi Caleb,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts here.

    The forums are great places to gather as much detail and information as possible before spending what can be an astronomical amount of money.

    My experience in any large purchase (and often small purchases) is that if you do not do your homework and look out for your best interest.....the person trying to sell you a 30 thousand dollar car or a 250,000 thousand dollar house etc... can't be expected to look out for your interest. They are looking out for theirs. And fair enough, it's business. The guy selling the car is trying to convince you to part with the money. My job is to make sure my wallet isn't unnecessarily light a the end of it.

    It is such a shame that if the duties etc. are killing you in the marketplace that this is the situation. It's not like there is a domestic manufacturing market to protect for crying out loud!
    12 conergy panels (3kw)  -  Outback Flexmax 60 CC  -  Magnum MS-PAE Inverter  -  Magnum ME-RC50 remote  -  ME-BMK batt-monitor  -  8 DEKA Solar GC15 230amp hour (48v) Yamaha ef3000ise Yamaha ef2000is
  • SchmidtSchmidt Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Canadians
    morpho wrote: »
    Hi Caleb,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts here.

    The forums are great places to gather as much detail and information as possible before spending what can be an astronomical amount of money.

    My experience in any large purchase (and often small purchases) is that if you do not do your homework and look out for your best interest.....the person trying to sell you a 30 thousand dollar car or a 250,000 thousand dollar house etc... can't be expected to look out for your interest. They are looking out for theirs. And fair enough, it's business. The guy selling the car is trying to convince you to part with the money. My job is to make sure my wallet isn't unnecessarily light a the end of it.

    It is such a shame that if the duties etc. are killing you in the marketplace that this is the situation. It's not like there is a domestic manufacturing market to protect for crying out loud!

    Doing your homework is an excellent thing to do...and we encourage it because when most people are looking at purchasing product in the US they usually discover it does cost much more than they really thought it would to get the system / product to Canada. There is a reason why all us Canadian suppliers have to deal with higher prices vs. the US.

    Whatever route you choose, best of luck, as it is exciting to be off grid! If there is anything I can do, please contact me.
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