Complete Guide For Solar Power Manitoba 2018

Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in Manitoba!

Solar Panel Installation
This is a 21.45kW solar system installed in 2017 by MiEnergy in Laurier Manitoba.

This page contains all available information about installing a solar power system in Manitoba, as of 2018.

Manitoba is the third sunniest province in the country! Let’s not waste this awesome renewable resource!

The page is broken into simple sections so you can easily find information about local companies, incentives programs, and utility information – depending on what you’re looking for.

You can read from top to bottom, or simply click on a section to skip to it below:


Overall Solar Rating: A

Manitoba Solar Power

We’ve ranked Manitoba as being Canada’s second best province for solar power. Manitoba is ranked high because of Manitoba Hydro’s $1.00/watt rebate, its net metering policy, and for being one of the sunniest provinces in the country!

In addition to awesome solar policy, interest in solar power is on the rise! There is currently over 1 MW of solar power installed across the province in areas like Winnipeg, Brandon, Swan River and more.

Curious to see how we rank our provinces? Check out our rankings and rating page to find out more.


Basics of Solar Power in Manitoba

This section covers some of the basic information about switching to solar power:

If you already consider yourself a solar expert, you can skip ahead to the Manitoba solar incentives section by clicking here.

Sizing Your System

In most cases, the first questions that come to a person’s mind are, “how big does my solar power system need to be?” and “can I completely off-set my electricity usage?”.

Answering these questions is as simple as knowing how much energy you use during the course of a year. Your monthly Manitoba Hydro bill will show your usage (in kWh) exactly like in the photo below:

Manitoba Hydro Bill

You’ll need to figure out how much energy you use in a year by adding up the amount shown for 12 consecutive months. Taking one month and multiplying by 12 won’t work because your energy use fluctuates depending on the season!

After you know how much energy you use, you can easily calculate the size of the solar power system that you’ll need by using the following equation:

Size of system needed = yearly energy use (in kWh) / 1,293h

(where 1,293h equals the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours in Manitoba)

So let’s pretend you added up your power bills and determined that you use 10,000 kWh in the course of a year, you would then do the above calculation and determine that you need a 7.73 kW solar panel system!

10,000 kWh / 1,293h = 7.73 kW

Keep in mind that this is only a rough estimate. The size if your system may change depending on the angle your panels are installed at, the amount of shading that your system receives, and the amount of sunlight that your specific city gets. But not to worry…

Solar Power Price Estimate

Solar Power Cost Estimate

If you get a free estimate, our partner installers can create a 3D model of your house, build in shading elements like trees or neighbouring buildings, and then use weather data from the closest weather station to calculate an extremely accurate estimate of how much energy your system will produce!

System Location

Now that you know the size of your system, you’ll want to determine the best place to put it. Most residential homeowners in Saskatchewan put the solar panels on their roof, while most rural homeowners put them on the roof of their house, shop, or in their yard.

If you’re putting solar panels on your roof, you should know:

  • A south facing roof is best, east and west facing are good, north facing is just OK
  • Output on panels are guaranteed for 25 years, so you may need to replace your shingles before installing
  • If you’re concerned about snow, roof mounted panels are harder to clean
  • Your roof’s pitch (slope) is not the most optimal angle for solar production

If you’re putting solar panels on the ground, you should know:

  • These systems are more expensive upfront due to piling requirements, mounting materials, and power line trenching…
  • … But are cheaper in the long term because they are more efficient (see next point)
  • They can be easily placed to avoid shading, to the optimal direction (south), and to the optimal angle (~45°)
  • Systems can be much larger than roof mounted ones

Cost of Installation

The final thing you’ll want to know is an approximation of how much your system will cost. To calculate this you’ll need to know the size of the system you plan to install.

The rough calculation is simple, take the size of your system and multiply it by the cost per installed watt quoted by your installer.

System cost = size needed x cost per installed watt

Generally, the cost per watt in Manitoba is between $2.5 and $3.5. Variation depends on the size of the system you’re installing, the location of your system, and which installer that you choose.

Click here to get a free solar power estimate.


Manitoba Incentives

Solar Performance Payments: B

Net Metering Manitoba

Programs: Net Metering

Selling Price: Retail Rate

Expiring: None

Excess Buyback: $0.03253/kWh

Size Limit: Up to 200 kW

Anniversary Date: Yearly

Manitoba Hydro supports solar power producers by offering them a net metering program. Under this program, you can install solar on your roof or in your yard and earn money for the power that you produce. The energy is first used to offset your hydro bill on a 1:1 basis, and then excess energy is sold to the grid at a reduced rate of $0.03253/kWh.

All of this might sound intuitive, but Manitoba’s net metering program (like Alberta’s) is actually superior to many other provinces. The main difference is that in Manitoba, you can actually get paid for the excess energy that you produce. Whereas in other provinces like Saskatchewan, excess power is kept by their utilities!

Solar Rebates & Tax Credits: A

Solar Power Rebates and Tax Credits Manitoba

Programs: One-time Rebate

Savings: $1.00/Watt

Expiring: April 30th, 2018

Every residential homeowner, rural homeowner, and business that installs a solar system under Manitoba’s Solar Energy Program (above) is eligible for a $1.00/Watt cash rebate. This means that Manitoba Hydro will provide you with a one-time cash payment equal to the size of the system that you install (in watts).

This rebate can be used only once and is limited to $200,000 (200 kW system). But hurry – it’s due to expire on April 30th, 2018! (Check back here then for updates)

UPDATE MAY 2018: Manitoba Hydro has stopped accepting applications for the $1.00/Watt cash rebate. Net metering remains in effect as does the Residential Earth Power Loan.

The Residential Earth Power Loan offered by Manitoba Hydro allows residential homeowners to invest in a solar power by providing them with a $30,000 loan with $0 down. The loan is payable over a maximum period of 15 years and is fixed at 4.9% interest for the first five years. Additional loan payments (or the entire remaining balance) can be paid without charge or penalty after 6 months of receiving the loan.

Do you own a business? Keep in mind that if you purchase your solar system through your business, you can take advantage of the federal tax provision allowing you to depreciate the costs at an accelerated CCA rate of 50%!

Remember, Solar Panel Power Canada also has a special Cash Incentive. It’s not huge – but it’s easy to claim, just send us a picture of your installation with one of our preferred installers! See the Solar Panel Power Canada Cash Incentive page for full participation details and terms.

Are you ready to get started? Click here to get a free estimate for your home or business!


Utility

Electricity Costs: C

Electricity Prices Manitoba

Main Provider: Hydro One

Average Rate: $0.090746/kWh

Average Fixed Cost: $8/mo

Due to an abundance of hydroelectricity, energy costs in Manitoba are fairly cheap – so switching to solar power doesn’t make sense in all cases (if financial savings are your main goal). However, one good thing is that the variable rates are extremely low. This is important because variable rates don’t disappear, even if you switch to solar! Contrast this to a place like Alberta where fixed rates can reach up to $48…

But keep in mind that rates aren’t everything, installations in Manitoba tend to cost less than their neighbouring province of Saskatchewan where rates are high. The best thing that you can do is get a free estimate for your home, pay-back period will be calculated!


Geography

Solar Potential: A

Solar Energy Production Manitoba

Average Production: 6464 kWh

Variation: High

Main Effect: Snow

Solar Power Map Manitoba
Energy production per kW solar capacity per year. See Solar Maps page for more info.

Manitoba has the third highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada.

According to a data collected in 2007 by National Resources Canada, the average solar system (5 kW) in Manitoba can produce approximately 6,464 kWh of electricity per year!

This average power production decreases as you move north in the province and increases as you move south. For example:

  • An average solar system in Brandon would produce about 6,701 kWh of power
  • An average solar system in Winnipeg would produce 6,359 kWh of power
  • An average solar system in Swan River would produce about 6,332 kWh of power

For comparison, here is what a 5 kW solar array looks like:

Residential Solar Panel(Photo used with from a preferred solar installer)

This means that the average Manitoba resident can completely offset their yearly power usage with a solar system. You can figure out what size system by following the instructions on this page!

Pro tip: You should aim to install enough panels to offset 110% of your energy bill. This ensures that you will always producing enough energy to cover your costs, as regular solar panels degrade 0.5% to 0.7% per year.


Renewable Energy Policy

Portfolio Standards: C

Renewable Energy Goals Manitoba

Renewable Energy Goals: Currently 99.6%

Solar Energy Goals: None

Manitoba is currently leading the country in terms of renewable energy production, thanks to the province’s heavy investments into hydro power.

Manitoba Hydro has been fairly impressive all around. Their recently build head office was named certified as North America’s most energy efficient tall building, using 70% less energy than comparable office buildings.

On a low note, Manitoba has very little current solar capacity (only about 1MW) compared to it’s sunny neighbours like Alberta (22.5MW) and Saskatchewan (6MW). As Manitoba is the third sunniest province in the country, we’d love to see this number go much higher!

Manitoba Solar Power


Solar Power Manitoba: Summary

Because of Manitoba Hydro’s net metering program, awesome solar resources, $1.00/watt rebate, and experienced solar installers – we rank Manitoba as being the #2 province in the country for switching to solar power.

Are you ready to get started? Click here to get a quote today!


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