Solar Power In Manitoba
Manitoba is a quintessential prairie province; across the landscape, you’ll find coniferous forests, agricultural fields, and the occasional polar bear. Most residents rely on the hydroelectricity provided by Manitoba Hydro. But what if you’re interested in generating your own energy?
In that case, you’re probably wondering whether Manitoba is a good location for producing solar power in Canada. We’re going to take a look at the factors that make this province a prime candidate for renewable energy generation.
For more information about solar power in Manitoba, keep reading.
Common Solar Questions
Whether you want to install solar panels at your home or commercial property, one thing remains the same: there’s a lot to learn before you get started. To help with that, we’re going to answer a few questions that you might have:
How much energy do I use in a year?
Based on your annual energy usage, you can estimate the number of solar panels that you’ll need. Start by adding up the kWh meter readings for the 12 months from the previous year. It’s important to get one reading from each month. Manitobans tend to use more electricity in the winter and less in the summer.
Keep in mind that, when sizing your solar system, you also must consider how much space you have for panels on your roof or in your yard.
How much will my solar system cost?
Another cost to factor in is whether you’re installing a grid-tied or off-grid solar system.
With an off-grid system, you’ll need to pay for a battery storage system. A battery allows you to store surplus power that you can access when the sun isn’t shining. Since you won’t be able to draw from the grid, batteries are essential for these systems. Solar batteries add a significant expense to your installation costs.
But with a grid-tied system, you can save on the cost of batteries. However, you’ll still need to pay for any electricity you’ll use from Manitoba Hydro.
Should I put solar panels on my roof?
If you’re choosing a roof-mounted setup, place the panels on the south-facing side of the roof. This is the optimal position for electricity generation. If the panels are on the north side, you’ll get less solar energy from your panels.
Alternatively, you can install a ground-mounted solar system. You will need to prepare the area beforehand to ensure the panels are supported, level, and stable.
Will solar power help me save money?
As a homeowner, one of your largest annual expenses is your electricity bill. This is partially due to the extreme climate in Manitoba. Residents use a significant amount of electricity to heat their homes in the winter and cool their homes in the summer.
Here’s how solar puts money back in your pocket:
- It provides an excellent ROI. Over the years, the monthly savings from your solar panels will cover the installation costs. Not only will you have lower energy bills, but the system will also increase the value of your property. When it comes time to sell your home or business, your investment will pay off.
- Lower your monthly expenses. If you have a grid-tied system, you may still purchase some electricity from Manitoba Hydro. However, your bills will be significantly less expensive.
- Protect yourself from rising energy rates. The cost of hydroelectricity seems to increase each year. When you’re less reliant on the grid, you’ll be less affected by rate increases.
Even though a solar system has high installation costs, the benefits will eventually outweigh the expenses. It’s a long-term investment that can benefit any home or business owner.
How does snow affect solar panels?
Can you still generate solar energy in a province that’s blanketed in snow for half the year?
The answer is yes. Here’s why:
Solar panels are angled for optimal energy production. And this has another advantage: when snow falls on them, it will naturally slide off. If your panels are on the roof, the sun will melt the snow throughout the day. You won’t need to worry about clearing them off; nature will take care of that for you.
Contrary to what you might think, cold weather doesn’t decrease how effective solar panels are—it actually enhances it. The only downside to the winters is that the days are shorter, which means there are fewer hours of sunlight.
Manitoba Solar Potential
If you’re a resident of Manitoba, today’s your lucky day: it’s one of the best provinces for producing solar energy.
Like all Prairie provinces, Manitoba is a sunny place with clear skies. It ranks third in terms of solar irradiance in Canada—that means it gets more sun exposure than most other provinces. The more solar irradiance a province receives, the more solar energy your panels will generate. Winnipeg happens to be the second sunniest city in Canada.
On average, a 1kW solar energy system in Manitoba can generate up to 1272 kWh annually. Solar irradiance is highest in Brandon and Dauphin, and slightly lower in The Pas. Winnipeg is in the middle of the pack.
Provincial Guides & Programs
Currently, there are no financial incentives available for solar in Manitoba. However, you can take advantage of several financing programs when paying for your solar installation. A few examples include:
- The Manitoba Hydro Home Energy Efficiency Loan. HEEL gives you a way to finance your solar installation through your monthly energy bill. An advantage to this program is that it does not require a down payment.
- The Canada Greener Homes Grant. Receive up to $5600 to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Eligible expenses include PV panels and solar batteries.
- The RBC Energy Saver Loan. If you need help with affording the upfront costs of a solar system, this loan may be an option for you. With 5-10 year amortization periods, you can make payments on a schedule that suits your budget.
Manitoba Hydro offers a net billing program, which works as a two-way system. If you have a grid-tied system, you can access hydroelectricity during the night or cloudy days when you may run out of solar power. You can also sell surplus power to the grid in exchange for monetary credits. This ensures that any excess energy you generate does not go to waste.
One downside to this program is that you’re paid a lower rate for solar energy than the rate of hydroelectricity. This means that if you generate an excess of power, your return on the investment will be low. Try to install a system that’s adequately sized for your electricity needs. In addition, you’ll need to pay a fee to connect your solar array to the grid.
See Our Resource Page For More Information
Manitoba residents can utilize solar power to generate electricity for their homes or businesses. It’s a great way to lower the cost of your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
We want to help people learn more about solar panels, so we’ve put together resource pages for most provinces in Canada. You can visit our website to learn more about solar potential across the country.
At SRB Energy, we carry all the products you’ll need for your solar installation. Check out our selection today.
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