Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maternity Leave and a Home Business

For tax reasons, all solar income from the OPA go into my wife's business which only purpose is for the solar panels. My wife is currently on maternity leave right now and collecting EI.

Unfortunately, the business, has really impacted the maternity benefit process. When we had our first child, and had no solar business, the EI cheques just came in the bank every couple weeks. When we had our second child in October, the cheques were coming in regularly and then we told the Government that my wife now has another income stream, the solar panels.

Boy, trying to explain this to Service Canada has been quite the experience and involved a LOT of phone calls and one trip down to the local Service Canada office. The unfortunate thing, is that just about every person I talk to, tells us something differently.

After we told them about the solar business, they told us to report the income weekly. We told them that this was not possible as the payments come bi-monthly. This was something else that was extremely hard to comprehend. Basically the end result of that was that we were to report the income for the week it was earned when we knew.

Well, a couple days after that, we recieved a letter in the mail saying that if the income was less than 850$, we could CHOOSE to voluntarily report it by week or as a lump payment. This has different implications that I will get into another day.

This was contradictory to what we were told on the phone so we called again to make sure that what came in the male was correct. We were told, no, that we still MUST report the income for each week that it was due. During this process, we had nothing to report and without telling us, they cancelled my wife's EI claim because she had not claimed any income.

So, fast forward a couple weeks and we got a payment so we finally had income to report. I broke it down by week and subtracted the expenses. (Side note, capital cost depreciation is not counted when calculating expenses) My wife called today, to claim the income per week and to re-activate the claim. She went into the details, again, for the nth time about what she was doing and that she had income to claim by week and the person said she didn't want it broken down, she just wanted a total and that next time we can just claim the total for the week the payment was received. Completely opposite of what the last person told us!!!! Anyhow, I like this answer and we are going to go this way from now on. She also told us we need to start filing her papers weekly stating income as 0$ until a payment is recieved and then claim that full amount as income for the week it was received.

The long and short of it, is that no one who works in the EI office goes by the same rules so I guess it just depends who you talk to!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Payment from KW Hydro

Earlier this month I received my first official payment from my LDC. The payment was for $302. This was for the period starting December 3rd (Connection date) to February 10 or around there.

The payment included HST which I am collecting and remitting to the government. It also included a one time 10$ account setup fee from KW Hydro and another 10.50$ in administration fees.

The $10.50 in administration fees will be every period. The payments are bi-monthly so that means that it is approximately $5.25 per month for administration. Not exactly ideal, but reasonable given the fact that I have heard that Toronto and Cambridge are both around $10/month. So, hopefully KW Hydro keeps the rates as is!

March 2011 Looking Good

As the sun gets higher and higher and stays out for longer and longer, my system is really starting to generate som serious power.

Three or four days this month have reached over 30kWh which is approximately 24$/day. The average per day is over 15kWh/day so far and that is ABOVE my target/plan so that makes me very happy.

I have noticed that it is not uncommon to average over 4.3kWh between 11AM and 2PM. I have also seen a max of 5.1kWh for a couple brief seconds. I am not exactly sure how this is possible as the inverter is only rated for 5kW, but whos complaining?

Clearly as these numbers come in I get more and more comfortable with the 'investment' because I am actually seeing the results!

I can only imagine as the days in June/July get longer and longer that I might be able to reach 40+ kWh/day.

I can't wait!