Complete Guide For Solar Power Prince Edward Island 2018
Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in Prince Edward Island!
This page contains all available information about installing a solar power system in Prince Edward Island, as of 2018.
PEI has high electricity rates and reasonable amounts of sunlight – so let’s make the most of this unique opportunity!
Content on this page is broken into simple sections so you can easily find information about local solar panel companies, incentives programs, or 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: D
We’ve ranked Prince Edward Island as being Canada’s eleventh best province for solar power. PEI scores slightly lower than most provinces mostly because there is no provincial rebate program, however, it still scores very high in virtually every other category! The island receives modest amounts of sunlight, has a good net metering program, and reasonably high electricity rates.
According to the PEI Provincial Energy Strategy, homeowners with solar power on the island are achieving less than a 10-year payback period, which is fantastic. Over 70 solar power systems are now installed in the communities of Summerside, Charlottetown, Stratford, 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 Prince Edward Island
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 PEI 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 Maritime Electric Hydro Bill will show your usage (in kWh) exactly like in the photo below:
You’ll need to figure out how much energy you use in a year by adding up the amount shown for 6 consecutive billing periods (12 months). Taking one bill and multiplying by 6 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) / 1,109h
(where 1,109h equals the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours in PEI)
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 9.02 kW solar panel system!
10,000 kWh / 1,109h = 9.02 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 Prince Edward Island 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.
Prince Edward Island Incentives
Solar Performance Payments: B
Programs: Net Metering
Selling Price: Retail Rate
Excess Buyback: None, Maritime Electric Keeps
Size Limit: Up to 100 kW
Anniversary Date: End of Calendar Year
Maritime Electric’s Net Metering Program allows customers to generate their own electricity and send excess electricity back to the grid for credit. Credits are earned on energy at the same retail rate that it’s purchased for and can be carried forward month to month to help offset future usage.
However, every year on your “anniversary date”, which is set for the last billing period of the calendar year, these energy credits will reset back to zero! This means that you can never actually make money from generating excess electricity, you can only break-even.
Keep in mind that net-metering is a vital component of switching to solar because without it, you would need a battery to store excess energy that is produced.
Solar Rebates & Tax Credits: F
Unfortunately, there is currently no province-wide rebate program available to PEI homeowners. However, there is a community economic development business operating on the Island called Solar Island Electric Inc. They enable you to lease the solar panels to be installed on your home as well as the opportunity to invest in their development fund while receiving a 35% provincial tax rebate! Provided this company operating through 2018, we will include this opportunity in next year’s rankings.
In PEI’s Provincial Energy Strategy, the province states that the adoption of solar power is likely to increase even without a ‘specific rebate program’ because solar is becoming cost-competitive with wind generation. We also feel that rebates are not necessary and our industry will need to learn to survive without them.
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.
Electricity Costs: B
Main Provider: Maritime Electric
Average Rate: $0.1396/kWh
Average Fixed Cost: $25/mo
Homeowners in Prince Edward Island pay moderate amounts of money for their electricity (mostly because the island doesn’t generate enough of its own) which means that you can potentially save a lot by switching to solar!
Fixed rates are also reasonable which is important because fixed rates don’t go away even if you switch to solar power. This is the trade-off for being able to take advantage of the net metering program and for using the grid as an energy back-up. Sweet deal! Otherwise you’d have to buy batteries which are very expensive…
Want to see how much you can save? We can calculate that, get a free estimate today!
Solar Potential: C
Average Production: 5543 kWh
Main Effect: Cloud Cover
Prince Edward Island has the eighth highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving more average annual solar irradiation than its maritime neighbours.
According to a data collected in 2007 by National Resources Canada, the average solar system (5 kW) in Prince Edward Island can produce approximately 5,543 kWh of electricity per year!
This average power production decreases as you move south-east on the island. For example:
- The average solar power system in Summerside will produce 5620 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Charlottetown will produce 5511 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Stratford will produce 5497 kWh of energy per year.
For comparison, here is what a 8 kW solar array looks like in PEI:
This still means that the average PEI 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: A
Renewable Energy Goals: Currently 99%
Solar Energy Goals: None
Almost all of the electricity produced on the island is from wind energy, the rest is from hydro purchased from New Brunswick. However, PEI seems to have a fairly positive outlook on solar in the province – they are currently developing policy to allow for large-scale utility projects. We’re typically not huge fans of utility-scale solar, but it’s better than nothing!
For more about our mission towards 100% community energy generation in Canada, see our about page here.
Solar Power Prince Edward Island: Summary
Because of Maritime Electric’s net metering policy, medium priced electricity, and experienced solar installers – we rank Prince Edward Island as being the #11 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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