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n the ever-evolving landscape of renewable energy, Canada is making strides in diversifying its energy sources, albeit at a slower pace compared to global leaders in solar energy. While the country has a significant focus on hydro and wind power, solar energy is also gaining attention. For Canadian homeowners who are considering a transition to renewable energy, the most pressing concern often revolves around cost and this guide aims to shed light on the various aspects of solar panel costs.

As we navigate through 2024, the average cost of solar panels in Canada, particularly in Ontario, remains a topic of interest for those contemplating a shift towards renewable energy. The national average for installing solar panels has seen fluctuations, influenced by factors such as system size, location, and advancements in solar technology. For homeowners considering investing in a solar panel system to generate energy for their homes, understanding the average costs involved is crucial.

The benefits of installing solar panels extend beyond just reducing electricity bills. Homeowners can leverage solar loans to finance their solar energy systems, making the transition to clean energy more accessible. Expect to pay varying amounts based on the system size, but the long-term savings on utility bills often outweigh the initial investment. Moreover, exploring power purchase agreements (PPA) can provide an alternative pathway, allowing homeowners to obtain solar power without the upfront costs of ownership.

SOLAR RESOURCE MAP

Solar State: Installed Capacity and Average Prices

At the moment the country has a total installed solar capacity of more than 2,399MW and the photovoltaic (PV) market has definitely grown. On average, the cost of solar installation ranges around $3.00 per watt. While these figures might seem hefty at first, considering the long-term benefits and the steadily decreasing costs of solar technology, the investment appears increasingly justified.

Solar Jobs and Market Growth

The clean energy sector is not just about megawatts; it's also a significant employer. Over 430,500 people are currently employed in the PV sector. As the market continues to grow, it offers various opportunities for job seekers interested in contributing to a more sustainable future.

How Climate Factors Affect Panel Performance

When we talk about solar, it's essential to mention the climate. Canada, with its diverse climatic conditions, offers a unique challenge for solar installations in some areas and makes it very easy in others. For instance, Calgary in Alberta enjoys around 2,396 hours of sunshine per year, making it the sunniest city in the country. Prince Rupert on the other hand is the cloudiest and only has about 250 hours of sunshine per year.

On a national scale, the country sees an average of 3-4 peak sun hours per day, with Ontario clocking in about 3.3 average daily peak sun hours. These climatic factors play a pivotal role in determining the efficiency and, subsequently, the cost of solar installations.

So, Is Solar Worth it in 2024?

You’ve probably thought about the booming renewable energy industry in the country, and you're considering making the leap. You're asking yourself, "Is solar worth the investment?" Let's break it down.

Average PV System Cost

The cost per watt for solar panels varies between $2.50 and $3.50. For an average-sized 6 kW system, you're looking at a total cost of $15,000 to $21,000. The good news is it’s not usually the final cost as there are several incentives that can significantly offset the initial cost.

How Much Can You Save?

With about 3.3 peak sun hours per day, a 6 kW system would produce approximately 19.8 kWh of electricity daily. With the cost of electricity at $0.165 per kWh, you're looking at potential daily savings of about $100 per month or $1,200 early.

Payback Period

Given the potential annual savings of $1,200 and an initial investment that could be as low as $10,000 after rebates, your solar system could pay for itself in approximately 8 years. It's important to note that most solar panels have a lifespan of at least 25 years, meaning you'll have over a decade of practically free electricity calculator.

The Bottom Line

So, Is solar worth still worth it? Well, when you factor in not just the costs but also the long-term savings and environmental benefits, the answer leans towards a resounding yes. And let's not forget that electricity rates tend to rise so your savings will only increase.

Leading PV Companies in Ontario and Their Impact on Costs

Canadian Solar: The Pioneer of PV Panels

Based in Ontario and founded in 2001, Canadian Solar has remarkably evolved over the past two decades. The company currently possesses a 9GW module manufacturing capability and has delivered more than 29GW of premium solar equipment globally. This extensive experience and strong reputation not only make Canadian Solar a source of quality equipment but also a reliable service provider.

Arborus Consulting: Experience and Cost-Effectiveness

Another prominent name in the Canadian solar panel sector is Arborus Consulting. The company has over 30 years of experience in the field and throughout that time has designed and installed over 100MW of renewable energy projects, such as solar thermal and PV. Arborus provides a balanced approach to the cost of solar installation by meticulously evaluating, designing, and consulting for various types of buildings.

Gorkon Industries: A Comprehensive Solution Provider

Ontario-based Gorkon Industries distinguishes itself as a full-service solar provider, efficiently offering project management, development, and engineering services. The company helps to streamline the cost of solar projects through its all-in-one solutions, thus adding value to your solar investment.

Maximizing Your Solar Investment

Leveraging Financial Programs to Offset Costs

There are various financial programs designed to make solar panels more affordable. For instance, the Federal Government's Canada Greener Homes Program offers a rebate of $1,000/kW up to a maximum of $5,000. This significantly lowers the upfront cost of solar panels. Another financial option to consider is the Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP), which allows for solar project financing tied to your property, not you as the property owner.

PV Module Types and Cost Efficiency

When it comes to solar panels, the options range from monocrystalline to polycrystalline and thin-film panels. Each type has its own cost and efficiency parameters, and selecting the right one can significantly affect both the performance and the cost of your solar system. For example, monocrystalline modules are the most efficient of the trio, but they’re also the most expensive, so if space is important to you – they’re a great choice. Otherwise, you can pick a different type.

Panel Angle and Positioning

The angle at which solar panels are installed plays a vital role in their efficiency. Given the fact that it is not the sunniest location out there, optimizing the angle can help you make the most out of the available sunlight, thus maximizing your solar yield.

The Role of Inverters in Optimizing Solar Efficiency

Whether you opt for a string inverter or microinverters, this equipment is crucial for converting the direct current generated by your solar panels into usable alternating current. Your choice can significantly impact both the cost and efficiency of your solar setup.

Professional Installation vs. DIY

While DIY projects may seem cost-effective, the complexity of solar panel installations often requires professional expertise. Errors in DIY installations can not only reduce the system's efficiency but can also raise the overall cost in the long run due to possible repairs or adjustments.

A Note on Sizing: Why Oversizing Isn't Always Better

Oversizing your solar system might seem like a way to maximize solar power production, but it can be counterproductive. An oversized system could incur additional costs and may not yield proportionately higher benefits, making it essential to find the right size for your needs.

Looking Towards a Sustainable Future - Solar and Beyond

As we venture into the next decade, ambitious targets have been set for the clean energy sector. The country aims to generate 90% of its energy from non-emitting resources by 2030. This places a spotlight on solar energy as one of the vital players in achieving these environmental milestones, while also driving down the cost of solar panels and solar installations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much do batteries cost and do I need them?

A: Batteries are not a must for a PV system. If your area experiences frequent outages or you’d like full grid independence, then you can get batteries for $800 to $1,000 per kWh of storage. Otherwise, it’s a costly investment that might not be worth it.

Q: Do panels produce energy during cloudy days?

A: Panels need sunlight to produce energy. While cloudy weather leads to lower efficiencies, your panels continue generating electricity at all times when any sunlight is available.

Q: Can I add more panels to my installation?

A: Absolutely! Expanding the system is fairly easy. You need to connect the additional PV panels and make sure your inverter can handle the extra power load. Complications might arise if you have a complex installation and adding more panels is physically challenging. Regardless of the situation, your PV provider will give you the most accurate information.

Final Thoughts

Solar energy, with its growing prevalence, presents a promising avenue for both individuals and the nation as a whole. The variety of solar panels, coupled with the decreasing costs and the available incentives, makes solar not just an environmentally responsible choice but also an increasingly economical one.

The country is well on its way to becoming one of the leaders in renewable energy. As residents, opting for solar energy is not merely an expenditure; it's an investment in your financial future, one that promises a more stable and predictable energy bill. So while the sun continues to rise, why not let it power your home and your savings?

In Ontario, where the push for renewable energy is particularly robust, the provincial and federal support mechanisms further sweeten the deal. Homeowners can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, a valuable tax incentive that significantly lowers the overall cost of installing solar panels. This initiative not only promotes the adoption of solar power systems but also aligns with the national goal of transitioning towards sustainable energy sources.

As we consider the average cost of solar panels in Canada in 2024, it's evident that the landscape is evolving, creating more opportunities for homeowners to embrace clean energy solutions. With the potential for savings on both energy and utility bills, investing in a solar panel system becomes not just an environmental choice but a practical and financially savvy decision for a brighter, sustainable future.

Sources:

https://housegrail.com/solar-energy-statistics-canada/#General_Statistics

https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/renovations/solar-panels-in-canada/

https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/Canada/electricity_prices/

https://volts.ca/blogs/educational/best-home-battery-storage-system-in-canada#:~:text=In%20order%20to%20buy%20the,kilowatt%2Dhour%20of%20storage%20capacity

Posted 
Sep 3, 2023
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