Are Solar Panels Right for You?

Energy Efficiency Alberta has officially launched the Residential and Commercial Solar Program. This program will help support and build Alberta’s energy services and renewable energy sector, while also reducing Albertans’ utility bills by offsetting some, or all, of their energy.

Alberta has some of the best access to sunshine in Canada in part because of our open, blue sky. In fact, Calgary has a greater solar resource potential than Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (by 39 kWh)!

Still, to realize the full benefit of solar panels, properties need to have sufficient solar exposure. Here are some things to consider prior to purchasing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system:

  • Southern exposure: Solar panels should ideally face true south if you are in the northern hemisphere, or true north if you are in the southern hemisphere. In Alberta, the sun is always in the south. Properties need to have unobstructed south-facing exposure to get the most out of the sun’s energy.
  • Optimal tilt: It is best practice to tilt solar modules to the approximate degree of latitude of any given location. For instance, a system in Lethbridge would need to adjust to its tilt angle according to its latitude of 49.6 degrees whereas in Edmonton, it’s 53.5 degrees. Changing the tilt will align solar modules’ orientation with the height of the sun on the horizon.
  • Surrounding area: If a roof is blocked by trees, office towers and/or high-rise buildings, it might not have sufficient solar exposure. Examining the area around a property is essential to determining if a solar PV system is suitable.

Determining if a property has sufficient solar exposure can seem overwhelming. If Albertans are unsure if their property will qualify for the Residential and Commercial Program, we recommend reaching out to a reputable contractor for a quote on installing solar panels. The contractor will conduct a preliminary site assessment as a part of this process, and will be able to determine if a property has sufficient solar exposure.

Visit efficiencyalberta.ca/solar for more information on incentives for adding a solar PV system to your home or organization.