Saskatchewan Solar Guide
Solar Energy! - A universal method of generating renewable energy. With the help of certain technologies like solar panels, PV cells, etc., sunlight is being captured and converted into usable energy. All we need to generate solar energy are solar panels and sunlight.
By god’s grace, Saskatchewan is blessed with an enormous amount of sunlight. This province is titled as the sunniest province in Canada. Stating this fact, it becomes important to go solar in Saskatchewan because this technology would be used here to its highest potential as a large amount of sunlight is available.
To help you navigate through the process of going solar, we are presenting a solar guide that might help you understand various aspects of solar energy and make informed decisions.
Key Facts explaining the importance of solar in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan, currently ranked as the 9th province in Canada for solar power installations, stands out as the province with the highest sunlight levels in the country.
With 35% residing in rural areas across Saskatchewan's expansive terrain, frequent brownouts and blackouts are common issues. Installing an energy storage system could economically address these power shortages.
How It Works:
A battery storage system charges during normal grid operation. In a grid failure, it seamlessly takes over via an automatic transfer switch, avoiding inconveniences like clock resets and water pump issues. This cost-effective solution ensures reliable electricity, crucial for family comfort, especially in rural areas.
Sizing Your System
Factors determining the system size
How to calculate Power Usage?
Among the factors listed above; ‘Power Usage’ is an important one to focus on. After all, the main motive for determining the size of the system is to meet the energy demands seamlessly.
The electricity consumed by a household during twelve months must be estimated before deciding on a specific system size. There is an equation that can be used to determine the ideal size of the solar system for your house.
- The equation to calculate energy consumption annually:
Annual Energy Consumption= Add up the SaskPower electric bill amount for the 12 months
- The equation to calculate system size:
System Size= Annual Energy Consumption (in kWh) / 1335h
Some more insights!
- Calculating Required Roof Space for Panels:
Roof Space (sqft)= Number of Panels × 17.55
- Determining the Number of Solar Panels Needed:
Number of Panels= Yearly Electricity Usage / Area’s Production Ratio ÷ Power Output of Solar Panels
An average residential solar panel is sized as 65-inch (length) and 39-inch (breadth) which requires approximately 17.56 sq. ft. of your rooftop. On the other hand, an average commercial solar panel with dimensions 78" x 39" requires approximately 42.25 sq. ft. of space.
Solar System Installation
After you have determined the ideal solar system size, it is time to search for a perfect location for installing a solar. The two most considered locations are rooftops and backyard or front yard. Let’s see which one is for you!
Solar panels can face north, south, east, or west, and it's important to note that they usually follow true directions rather than align with magnetic poles as they are the best angle for solar installation. To simplify:
- Directional Choices:
- Solar panels can face north, south, east, or west.
- They follow true directions, aligning with Earth's true axis rather than magnetic poles.
- Energy Impact:
- When panels face directly east or west, energy production decreases by around 20%.
- Optimal Orientation:
- For homes north of the equator, the best orientation is facing true south.
- For homes south of the equator, the ideal orientation is facing true north.
By choosing the right orientation based on your location, you ensure that your solar panels get maximum exposure to sunlight, resulting in the highest electricity production.
Advantages of Rooftop installations
Rooftop solar panels optimize unused building space, especially beneficial in urban settings with limited land availability.
Cost-Effective Energy Independence:
Installing solar panels on rooftops enables energy self-sufficiency, reducing reliance on the grid and offering potential cost savings.
Disadvantages of Rooftop installations
Rooftop installations face limited space and may not offer ideal orientations for optimal sunlight exposure.
Rooftop solar panels are exposed to the elements, requiring regular maintenance that can be challenging and costly due to the elevated location.
The best direction for ground installation of solar panels is typically facing true south in the Northern Hemisphere and true north in the Southern Hemisphere. This orientation maximizes exposure to sunlight throughout the day, optimizing energy production.
Advantages of Ground Installation
Ground installations allow for optimal orientation, maximizing exposure to sunlight for enhanced energy production.
Ground-mounted solar panels are easily accessible, facilitating simpler and safer maintenance activities.
Disadvantages of Ground Installation
Requires dedicated land space, which can be limited in densely populated areas.
Involves higher upfront costs due to additional support structures and foundation requirements.
The pricing of solar panels in Saskatchewan is commonly expressed in dollars per watt ($/W), a standard format used for comparison across various solar arrays. Lower $/W values generally indicate a more cost-effective system. However, exceptions may arise when comparing systems with different energy production capabilities per installed solar panel (kWh/kW).
Factors Influencing Cost:
The cost of installing solar panels varies based on specific project requirements. Larger solar power systems in Saskatchewan benefit from economies of scale, resulting in a lower $/W. This advantage stems from spreading fixed costs, such as engineering and permitting, over a greater installed solar capacity.
Certain property-related factors, such as the need for an electrical panel upgrade or specific array placement, may incur additional costs. Early collaboration with experts during the design stage can optimize roof and electrical systems, reducing $/W by implementing efficient solar panel installation strategies.
Total Cost Overview:
The total cost of solar power systems in Saskatchewan is depicted, highlighting the use of a logarithmic scale for data clarity. Residential systems generally vary between $10,000 and $20,000, while commercial or farm systems exhibit a broader range of $40,000 to $200,000, reflecting diverse operational requirements.
Community, large commercial, and small utility solar farms may incur costs ranging from $1 million to $11 million, showcasing the variability in capacity needs. For those considering participation in the Small Power Producers Program, a 1MW solar farm is estimated at approximately $1.5 million, with a margin of ±20%.
It's crucial to recognize that each solar project is unique, presenting distinct challenges and costs. To accurately assess solar power costs, direct communication with experts is recommended. Contacting professionals directly ensures tailored guidance and accurate cost evaluations for individual projects.
How to estimate system cost?
System cost can be estimated using the following equation:
- System cost = size of system needed x cost per installed watt.
The formula to find ‘the size of system needed:
- System size required (in kilowatts) = Annual energy usage (in kilowatt-hours) / Average annual equivalent of full sunlight hours (in hours)
In 2023, Saskatchewan obtained a feasibility score of 64 out of 100 for the potential installation of solar power systems, securing the ninth position in the rankings. This is enough to prove that Saskatchewan is the most likely province for effective solar installations.
In our stunning province, we have the greatest opportunity for solar energy across the whole country! A typical solar system, which is about 5 kilowatts in size, can generate around 6,678 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually in Saskatchewan. Our province aims to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Solar Incentive Programs
Discover the perks of embracing solar energy in Saskatchewan with these enticing incentives and save money by reducing your power bills!
Home Renovation Tax Credit
Unleash the potential of the Home Renovation Tax Credit, where homeowners can enjoy provincial income tax savings of up to $2,100. Claim a generous 10.5% tax credit on eligible home renovation expenses, capped at $20,000.
Green Homes Grant Funds
Dive into the Greener Homes Grants Fund, offering homeowners grants of up to $5,000. These funds empower you to implement energy-efficient retrofits in your home. What's more, Indigenous governments or organizations can also seize this opportunity.
Net Metering Program
Engage with the Net Metering Program, a game-changer that lets you sell surplus solar electricity back to your retailer. Earn a lucrative $0.075 per kilowatt-hour, turning your excess or unused solar power into a sustainable source of income.
Power Generation Partner Program
Participating in the Power Generation Partner Program is an opportunity for solar generation projects ranging from 100 kW up to and including 1 MW. This initiative aims to encourage and support the development of solar projects within this capacity range, fostering a sustainable and diverse energy landscape.
Solar Production Potential:
Saskatchewan boasts a remarkable solar production potential of 1330 kilowatt-hours per kilowatt per year. This high potential signifies the capacity for significant solar energy generation within the province.
Advantageous Solar Irradiance:
Saskatchewan enjoys advantageous solar irradiance levels, surpassing those of numerous other provinces in Canada. This abundance of solar irradiance stands as a pivotal natural advantage, significantly enhancing the efficiency and productivity of solar power systems in the region.
In comparison to other provinces, Saskatchewan's favorable solar irradiance creates a conducive environment for the installation and utilization of solar energy systems. This advantageous natural factor establishes Saskatchewan as a promising destination for sustainable energy initiatives, offering ample opportunities for solar energy development and contributing substantially to the renewable energy landscape.
In closing, Saskatchewan emerges as a promising hub for solar energy adoption. Ranked 9th for solar installations and boasting the title of the sunniest province in Canada, it offers abundant sunlight for effective solar power generation. Our guide covers key aspects, from system sizing and installation considerations to cost factors. Equations for estimating energy consumption and system size ensure informed decisions.
Rooftop and ground installations present unique advantages and considerations, with system costs varying based on project specifics. Saskatchewan's solar rankings and feasibility scores affirm its suitability for solar initiatives, backed by enticing incentives like tax credits and grants.
Natural factors, including a notable solar production potential and advantageous irradiance, position Saskatchewan as a frontrunner in renewable energy. As we celebrate one year of the Saskatchewan Solar Guide, seize the opportunity to tap into the province's solar potential for a sustainable future.