Complete Guide For Solar Power New Brunswick 2018
Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in New Brunswick!
This page contains all available information about installing a solar power system in New Brunswick, as of 2018.
New Brunswick is current rated the #10 province in the country for solar power! New Brunswick has a good net metering program, lots of sunlight, and a utility that’s positive about solar energy – so let’s not waste this incredible opportunity.
The page is broken into simple sections so you can easily find information about relevant policies, 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: C
We’ve ranked New Brunswick as being Canada’s tenth best province for solar power! New Brunswick scores lower than other provinces due mostly to a lack of a rebate program. However, there are several positives about solar power in NB. First is that New Brunswick receives a reasonable amount of sunlight and second is that installation costs are generally lower here than in other provinces!
Because of this, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that solar power in New Brunswick is on the rise. As of 2018, there was at least 400 kW of solar installed across the province from Fredericton to Moncton to Saint John to Miramichi to Edmundston and everywhere in between.
Curious to see how we rank our provinces? Check out our Rankings and Rating Page to find out more.
Basics of Solar Power in New Brunswick
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 New Brunswick 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 NB Power Bill will show your usage (in kWh) exactly like in the (blurry) photo below:
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) / 1,140h
(where 1,140h equals the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours in New Brunswick)
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 8.77 kW solar panel system!
10,000 kWh / 1,140h = 8.77 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…
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!
Now that you know the size of your system, you’ll want to determine the best place to put it. Most residential homeowners in New Brunswick 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 rough calculation is simple, take the size of your system and multiply it by the cost per installed watt quoted by your installer. Variation depends on the size of the system you’re installing, the location of your system, and which installer that you choose.
System cost = size needed x cost per installed watt
Click here to get a free solar power estimate.
New Brunswick Incentives
Solar Performance Payments: B
Programs: Net Metering
Selling Price: Retail Rate
Expiring: Not stated
Excess Buyback Rate: None
Size Limit: Up to 100 kW
Anniversary Date: Yearly, March
NB Power is currently offering a Net Metering Program which has become the standard for utility companies across Canada. Under this program, homeowners can install a solar power system and stay connected to the NB Power grid. This serves two benefits: 1) You can use the grid for back up if you’re not producing enough power, and 2) you can earn credits for any excess power that you produce that is sent back to the grid.
Energy credits can then be carried forward month by month until once per year, on your “anniversary date”, they are reset back to zero. This means that you can never actually make money from selling your power, you can only reach net zero.
If you’re interested in reading more, NB Power has an interesting case study about the Smith Residence and how they reached net-zero by installing a solar power system on their home.
Ready to get started? Click here to request a free cost estimate.
Solar Rebates & Tax Credits: D
Programs: Commercial Only
Savings: Up to $75,000
Expiring: Not stated (revised 2016)
Unfortunately, New Brunswick is one of the few provinces in Canada without a major rebate or tax credit program. The only available program is the Energy Smart Commercial Buildings Retrofit Program for commercial buildings only.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that rebates aren’t everything when it comes to solar! Because of the large amounts of sunlight and comparatively low installation costs, NB homeowners are still able to treat solar power as an investment.
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 SPPC Cash Incentive Page for full participation details and terms.
If you’re curious how much solar would cost, or if you want to know your payback period or internal rate of return, please simply request an estimate!
Electricity Costs: B
Main Provider: NB Power
Average Rate: $0.1081/kWh
Average Fixed Cost: $22/mo
Interconnection Study Fees: $500
Net Meter Fees: None
Variable electricity rates in New Brunswick are moderately priced which means that NB homeowners can save a lot of money by switching to solar power! However, fixed rates are on the higher end… this is bad because fixed rates don’t disappear even if you get solar (this is in trade off for being able to participate in the net metering program and for using the energy grid as back-up).
But rates aren’t everything. In many provinces utilities charge exorbitant fees for connecting their systems to the grid. Thankfully, NB homeowners only have to pay a $500 interconnection study fee while NB Power covers the cost of the bi-direction meter needed for net metering. We feel this is a fair trade-off given that other provinces (like Manitoba and Saskatchewan) charge >$1000 for these same services!
Solar Potential: B
Average Production: 5702 kWh
Main Effect: Cloud Cover
New Brunswick is one of the cloudier provinces in the country which decreases the overall amount of sunlight that hits your solar panels. However, this is highly variable depending on which area of the province you’re from.
According to a data collected in by National Resources Canada, the average solar system (5 kW) in New Brunswick can produce approximately 5702 kWh of electricity per year!
- The average solar power system in Fredericton will produce 5730 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Moncton will produce 5716 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Saint John will produce 5661 kWh of energy per year.
For comparison, here is what a 5 kW solar system looks like:
You can figure out what size system you need by reading the the kWh on your hydro bill. 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: D
Renewable Energy Goals: 40% by 2020
Solar Energy Goals: 100,000 kW by 2025*
New Brunswick has the goal of producing 40% of it’s energy through renewable resources by 2020. And while this may sound good, NB actually has one of the least progressive renewable energy goals in the province!
*But there’s one catch: According to the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, there are major plans in place for solar financing options that would greatly reduce the payback period of the average solar system. If passed, they aim to install 100,000 kW of solar power in residential households by 2025.
Solar Power New Brunswick: Summary
Because of New Brunswick’s net metering program, high sunlight hours, and experienced solar installers – we rank it as being the #10 province in the country for switching to solar power.
Are you ready to get started? Click here to get a cost estimate today!
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