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January 16, 2017

Is Alberta a Good Place to Have Solar Panels On Your Home?

Yes!  For a variety of reasons, Alberta is a great place to have solar panels on your home.  

In this blog post, we will discuss why this is the case.

Sunniest Province in Canada

First of all, Alberta has the distinction of being one of the sunniest places in Canada, and even the world.  This is naturally a good thing for solar panels, as they have access to a lot more sunlight to convert to energy throughout the year.  

  • Most Hours of Sunshine: Alberta sees the most hours of sunshine out of all the provinces in Canada at over around 2,300 hours.  This is quite a bit more than cities in Ontario for example, which can average slightly less than 2,000 hours.
  • Most Sunny Days: Alberta also tops the list for total days in a year when the sun is bright enough to be measured, at over 320 days.  Other provinces in Canada on average, experience closer to 300 days per year.
  • Greatest Percentage of Sun: This statistic is determined by how much the sun beams down during the daylight hours.  Once again, Alberta enjoys the top spot, experiencing over 50% of daylight hours where the sun is shining.  Most of the other provinces experience around 45%.

Selling Energy Back To The Grid

As of January 1, 2009, the Government of Alberta established guidelines that an energy retailer must buy back exported power at a rate equal to the customer’s retail rate.  This is called Net Billing and requires a grid-tied solar PV system to feed power back into the grid.  Over time, this can offset the cost of your solar system making it a long-term and eco-friendly investment.

Government Incentives & Rebates

At the moment, Alberta does not have a specific incentive program for solar energy.  However, the Government of Alberta has piloted successful programs in the recent past which offered rebates to defray the cost of setting up solar power in municipalities, office, fire halls and community centres.

New programs and money are expected to fund about 160 projects in Alberta and reduce carbon emissions over the next 25 years – so it could be very likely that a defined incentive program tailored to solar panel users will available sooner than later.

At the federal level, there is an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance which affords businesses which use solar panel equipment to claim an amount of tax credits.