Calgary happens to be the largest metropolis in Alberta, one of the provinces in Western Canada. With the immense growth and popularity of the solar industry across the world, more homeowners are warming up to the idea of renewable energy powering their homes and more solar panel companies are emerging.
Alberta is one of those places where solar technology is readily embraced. As a resident of Calgary, there are certain things you need to be familiar with before you decide to install a solar power system in your home. If, for some reason, you’re still skeptical of installing solar panels in your home, you should know the benefits of having a solar system in your home. These might convince you.
Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels Calgary
The short answer is yes. We’ll explain why in the details below:
No Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Clean and Renewable Energy
If you want to have a net-zero carbon electricity generation system, installing solar panels is the way to go. The solar power system utilizes solar energy from the sun and converts it into usable electricity to power your home. It’s very environment-friendly and it reduces your carbon footprint in the environment. Solar energy is also renewable and has an unlimited source: the sun.
Reduces Your Electricity Costs
A solar system is a great way to reduce your energy bills or eliminate them. This makes it an investment. With solar power fulfilling your energy requirements, there may be no need for electric power for the grid. If the aim is for solar power to provide 50% of your electricity needs, it will reduce your electricity bills, but if the aim is for the solar system to generate 100% of your eletricity needs, you won’t have to pay bills again. Both cases will save money in the future.
Solar Power Can Earn You Credits
With solar power systems, you won’t just have an independent power source to rely on, you can also earn credits from your local utility company’s net metering policy by selling the additional energy generated to them. This also contributes to the grid power. A perfect win-win combination.
It Heightens the Property Value of Your Home
A home with a renewable energy system or with the potential for solar power utilization offers more value on the property market than a home without it. This is because prospective Calgary homeowners will be drawn in by the perks that come with solar panel installation – reduced energy bills and earning credits from the grid.
The System is Low-Maintenance and Durable
With an average product warranty of 10 years and a performance warranty of more than 2 decades, solar installation is not an expense, but an investment. Aside from its incredible durability, the system is also easy to maintain. All it requires to maintain solar power systems is to clean the panels of debris once or twice a year and replace the batteries/inverters once a decade.
What to Consider Before Instaling Solar Panels in Calgary
Before having solar panels installed in your home, consider the following:
Site of Installation
There are two sites for solar panel installation – the roof or the ground. The former is more common and less expensive to install. The latter is done if the roof tilt or type is not suitable for solar panel installation. The latter is also a good option if you have a lot of space in your compound for the number of solar panels you’ll be accommodating.
When it comes to solar energy, the tilt of your roof matters a lot. The best roof tilt is due south because it provides a large area of roof surface to install solar panels, this will make up for the slight decline in energy output. Other roof tilt positions that are okay for tapping the sun’s energy include the West and East.
Presence of Obstructions
Before installing solar panels, check for obstructions on the chosen site of installation. If it’s the roof, check for chimneys or vents. If it’s the ground you want to use, check for trees. Sometimes, very tall trees can also obstruct the roof solar panels from harvesting solar energy and reduce the panels’ energy efficiency.
Consider your pocket as well. The cost of installing a solar system depends on the size or capacity of the solar system, the system setup (grid-tied or off-grid), the type of solar panel, and the solar firm. Thankfully, the Canadian government has provided rebates and other solar incentives which Calgary homeowners can take advantage of. Grid-tied solar installations are less expensive because they don’t use batteries.
Consider your home’s annual energy usage because it will be key to sizing the solar power system you’ll be installing. Commercial establishments will have a much larger energy requirement than residential buildings.
How Much Does it Cost to Install Solar Panels in Calgary
The price largely depends on the solar installer you’re hiring to handle the renewable energy project and the size of the solar system you’re installing. The larger the solar system, the more expensive it will be. Factoring all these including administrative fees, microgeneration application, permit application, labour costs, and materials, the general price range for solar installation in Calgary is C$10k – C$17k after rebates.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Install
This depends on the home’s azimuth panel tilt and orientation), peak sunlight hours, panel wattage, electricity usage, and roof tilt. A 1-KW will generate 1-1.2 MW of clean energy annually. This energy output may be more or less depending on the roof tilt and azimuth. Now, the average home in Alberta has an annual energy requirement of 7 MW. Let’s assume this figure and break it down into hourly energy requirements and go with a panel wattage of 300 watts.
- The hourly energy requirement will be = 7,000 KW/365 = 19.1 (daily requirement) = 19.1/24 = 0.795 kw (795 watts)
- Number of solar panels = hourly energy usage x peak sunlight hours/ panel wattage
- 795 watts x 4/ 300 watts = 3180 watts/300 = 10.6 panels (11 solar panels)
- This figure will vary if you’re using a higher or lower solar panel wattage and your home has a higher or lower energy requirement.
What to Look Out For in a Solar Installation Company
Watch out for the following, they will help you select the best solar installer for the job:
- The number of years the solar company has been in business: While a new company may still deliver top-notch services, we recommend going for a company that has been in business for more than 5 years because of the experience they’ve gathered during that period. It’s a no-brainer to pick an experienced team over a newbie.
- The company’s scope of expertise: Check if the company’s expertise is the installation of solar panels or if it’s a general electrical contractor. We recommend the former because they will render excellent service and leave the homeowner completely satisfied.
- Their work portfolio: If you’re to choose between a company that has worked on 20 solar panels and another that has worked on over 100 solar panels, your option should be the latter because their portfolio is richer.
- Warranty: Check for the duration of their workmanship and product warranties – the longer, the better. A recommended duration is 10 years.
- Client Ratings: The higher the ratings, the better. Target companies with a client rating of 4 stars and above.
- Certifications: These attest to the quality of the company’s service and product offerings. Choose a solar provider with certifications (it’s always displayed on the website).
- Membership status: Check if the company is a member of Solar Alberta.
- The average period they take to handle the installation of panels: Go for companies that can complete the job within 3 days or thereabouts. The longer it drags, the more inconvenient it will be for you.
- How soon can the work commence: The earlier, the better. Go for companies that have the resources that commence the project as soon as possible.
- Who will be handling the work: If the solar energy company uses labourers to handle the work, it’s a red flag. Go for companies that can use electricians.
Though the list of things to look out for is longer, these are the most common things to look out for.
The Installation Process in Calgary
There are certain steps involved in the process of installing solar panels in the home.
- The Appraisal Process: This is when the company assesses the property (site and roof evaluation), its energy requirement, location, the goals of the project, how long it should take, and so on. This is the data collection process where the company will determine if your home is viable or not for solar energy systems.
- The Proposal: At this stage, the solar has analyzed the data and drafted a proposal for the house. This proposal will contain a variety of system sizes and cost options for the homeowner to choose from based on his taste and budget.
- The Installation: This is the actual installation of solar panels. For the average home in Calgary, this can be completed within 48-72 hours. It will take longer for industrial buildings or large homes. After the entire process, the company tests the system.
- Commissioning: This is the final stage, where the system will be tested and appraised by the relevant authorities for code compliance and optimal system functionality.
Top Solar Companies in Calgary
If you want the best solar panels and the best installers, these are some of the recommended options you can find in Calgary:
Solun LTD specializes in off-grid and grid-tied setups as well as solar water heaters. They’re a top-notch solar energy provider for residential, commercial, and agricultural properties. Its working schedule is 9 am – 5 pm (Mon-Fri). Its contact information:
- Address: 110 12 Ave SW #204, Calgary, AB
- Telephone: (403) 400 4660
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://solun.ca/
Solar YYC is an all-rounder when it comes to offering turnkey solar solutions. It offers a very wide range of services, including solar rebate assistance. Its working schedule is from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 12 noon on Saturdays. Its contact information includes:
- Address: 125 9 Ave SE Suite 2000, Calgary, AB
- Telephone: 403 999 3828
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://solaryyc.ca/
The Zeno team offers various solar solutions, but unlike some other solar companies, it’s best known for EV charging and residential solar installation services. This firm has a lofty ambition – to provide solar energy for more than a million homes by 2040. Its working schedule is from 8 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays.
- Address: 7909 Flint Road SE #100, Calgary, AB
- Telephone: 1.888.901.2792
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.livezeno.com/
These companies offer a free quote or free estimate on their services.
Solar Power Incentives in Calgary
Certain homeowners in this city may be interested in installing a turnkey solar system but have budget restrictions. Thankfully, a grant program can be extremely helpful in this regard. The Greener Homes Grant offers up to $1 per watt. So, if you’re installing a 5-KW system, that’s $5,000 in rebates. This initiative also provides interest-free loans (up to $40,000) to eligible homeowners.
There’s also CEIP (Clean Energy Improvement Program) which is run by the Alberta Municipal Services Corporation. This has provided the financial support needed for residents in Western Canada to have the solar energy system installed in their homes. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the city of Calgary started offering CEIP incentives for its homeowners.
Requirements for Solar Installation in Calgary
These are all the paperwork that your solar contractor should have before the whole process of installing solar panels in your home can begin:
- A micro-generation application from the Alberta Utility Commission: This document licenses you to sell excess solar energy to the utility company in your locality.
- Building/development permit: This document is needed if the project clashes with the provisions of the Land Bylaws
- An electrical permit: This is submitted by a certified electrician and it’s reviewed by the relevant bodies to know what work is being completed and in what part of the house
- Grant application