Lately, more and more people have been concerned about the environment and are thinking of what they can do to pollute less. One method of doing so is setting up solar panels in order to power your home with renewable energy rather than with energy derived from fossil fuels. However, there are a few things to consider when it comes to solar energy in Edmonton, such as solar power viability in Edmonton. This concern is based on the fact that the city has long winters and often a lot of snowfall — so, would solar panels even make sense in Edmonton?
Does solar power make sense in Edmonton?
The answer for this isn’t necessarily straightforward — it would depend on what you’re looking to get out of generating energy from solar panels in Edmonton. If cost is of no issue to you and you simply want to power your home with as much green energy as possible, installing solar panels in Edmonton makes sense. However, the cost is usually a factor. Solar panels that could power a typical residential home in Edmonton cost between $13,750 and $15,000 to install, according to an article from the Calgary Herald. If you wanted a low-cost way of generating green energy, solar energy may not be for you.
As mentioned above, another common concern with Edmonton solar panels is the fact that Edmonton usually receives a large amount of snowfall every year. Knowing this, would installing solar panels in Edmonton still be a viable option for powering a home or building?
A study from NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology program found that energy loss from snow is fairly minimal — estimates use to place the energy loss as around 20%, but this study found that the energy loss from snow is actually closer to 3%. An article by SolarCor translates this energy loss to between $20-$50 worth of energy loss per year.
This amount of energy loss pales to the amount of energy savings produced annually by using solar panels. For example, Neighbour Power estimates an average of $660 in savings per year for residences fitted with solar panels (note that this value changes depending on the cost of energy, the amount of energy produced by the solar panel system, as well as other factors.) Another fact that may surprise you is that Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with over 2,300 hours of sunshine per year, according to the Edmonton Journal.
In summary, solar power in Edmonton does make sense if we consider the two factors we just touched on — there are enough hours of sunlight during the year to produce solar energy to power our homes and snowfall hardly makes a dent in the energy produced.
The pros and cons of solar power in Edmonton
Now that you’ve considered whether or not solar power makes sense in Edmonton, you may want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy in Edmonton.
Pros of solar power in Edmonton
- Solar power is environmentally friendly. Installing solar panels produces clean energy, has a low carbon footprint and helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Plus, generating solar power in Edmonton also helps create green jobs that will help with maintaining Edmonton’s energy system.
- Solar power can save you money. You can save up to 100% on electric energy charges if you install solar power systems on your property. This is possible if your system is set up for net metering – net metering compares the amount of electricity you use versus the amount that you generate through renewable sources. According to SolarCor, the amount of energy that you would generate on a sunny day would exceed the amount of energy you would use from the grid — the excess energy would be converted to a net-metering credit. You would then be able to use these net-metering credits to compensate for the winter usage of grid power instead of paying out of pocket for power. Thus, it’s possible to average around $0 for your energy charges over a year. However, it’s important to note that transmission and distribution charges would still apply and need to be paid.
- Solar power is low maintenance. Solar panels only require cleaning a few times per year. In addition to this, solar panels often last between 20-25 years, meaning you won’t have to replace your solar panels often, if at all.
- Solar power is silent. Depending on where you are in the city, it can be quite noisy. Thankfully, solar power is silent, unlike other green sources of energy such as wind energy because it doesn’t have any moving parts.
- Solar homes can sell for more money. If the current home you’re living in isn’t your forever home, not to worry. Adding a solar power system can actually help your home sell faster as well as get you more money for your home. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, home buyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for homes with solar power systems.
Cons of solar power in Edmonton
- The upfront costs for solar power are expensive. As we mentioned before, solar power systems could cost between $13,750 and $15,000, depending on how many kilowatts the system is. That isn’t necessarily affordable for everyone. On a related note, solar power systems are slow to pay for themselves – it could take between 12 and 20 years for some solar power systems to achieve solar payback.
- Solar panels aren’t environmentally friendly to produce. While the energy that they produce is clean, the production of solar panels often is associated with the production of greenhouse gas.
Energy storage is expensive. Batteries to store backup power to use during power outages are convenient but are quite costly. Solar batteries can cost between $5,000 and $7,000 and may require replacing every five to 15 years.
For more information about solar energy in Edmonton, or about green energy alternatives that are available to your commercial facility, contact us at energyrates.ca today.