Complete Guide For Solar Power Québec 2018
Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in Québec!
This page contains all available information about installing a solar power system in Québec, as of 2018.
Revenu Québec is currently offering a 20% tax credit and Québec receives some of the best sunlight in the country – 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 relevant policies, 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: A
We’ve ranked Québec as being Canada’s fifth best province for solar power. Québec scores higher than most provinces because of it’s 20% tax credit, awesome net metering program, and for being one of the sunniest provinces in the country! In addition, Québec has reasonably strong renewable energy goals. However, Québec lots points in this year’s ranking because electricity rates are very low – which means less money can be saved by switching to solar power.
In general, the future of solar power in Québec is on the upswing! As of 2018, approximately 800 homeowners in the areas of Montréal, Québec City, Gatineau, and Saguenay have installed solar power on their house on in their yard.
Curious to see how we rank our provinces? Check out our Rankings and Rating Page to find out more.
Basics of Solar Power in Québec
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 Québec 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 Québec 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) / 1,153h
(where 1,153h equals the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours in Québec)
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 8.67 kW solar panel system!
10,000 kWh / 1,153h = 8.67 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 Québec 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.
Solar Performance Payments: B
Programs: Net Metering
Selling Price: Retail Rate
Excess Buyback: None, Québec Hydro Keeps
Size Limit: Up to 20 kW
Anniversary Date: Every Two Years
Québec Hydro’s Net Metering Program allows residential and agricultural customers to send excess energy that they produce back to the Québec Hydro grid. This excess energy is credited to the customer’s account and can be carried forward month to month to offset future energy usage. However, once every two years (on the “anniversary date”), these credits are reset back to zero.
This means that you can never actually make money from the net metering program, you can only break even (pay nothing for electricity). Thus, your solar system should be sized to meet your home’s specific energy needs.
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: A
Programs: One-time Rebate
Expiring: March 31, 2019
Revenu Québec is currently offering the 20% RénoVert Tax Credit for any inhabited home or cottage that invests in eco-friendly renovation work. This includes the full cost of installing a photovoltaic solar system (for electricity generation) and the full cost of installing a solar thermal system (for house or water heating).
Please note that the maximum rebate is $10,000 (so your total project costs shouldn’t exceed $50,000), the installation must be done by a qualified contractor, and full payments must be made to the contractor before January 1st, 2020. Make sure to check with your installer to see if they are qualified! (our partner installer is)
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.
Are you ready to get started? Click here to get a free estimate for your home or business!
Electricity Costs: C
Main Provider: Québec Hydro
Average Rate: $0.0582/kWh
Average Fixed Cost: $12/mo
Unfortunately, Québec has the lowest variable electricity rates in the country. This is mostly bad news for solar because it means there is less potential savings if you were to switch to solar power.
On the bright side, the fixed rates are very small. This is good news because fixed rates don’t disappear event if you install solar power on your home. Québec Hydro makes you pay this continuous fee in 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!
At the end of the day, the best thing to do is to get an estimate for your home. Our estimates build in the cost of power and we will use it to calculate your payback period, internal rate of return, and net present value (as needed).
Solar Potential: B
Average Production: 5766 kWh
Main Effect: Snow
Québec has the fifth highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving more average annual solar irradiation than most other provinces and territories.
According to a data collected in 2007 by National Resources Canada, the average solar system (5 kW) in Québec can produce approximately 5,766 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:
- The average solar power system in Monteal will produce 5976 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Québec City will produce 5675 kWh of energy per year.
- The average solar power system in Saguenay will produce 5648 kWh of energy per year.
For comparison, here is what a 5 kW solar array looks like in Québec:
This means that the average Québec 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: B
Renewable Energy Goals: 61% by 2030
Solar Energy Goals: ~25,000 Homes
Energy and Natural Resources Québec stated in their 2030 Energy Policy that they aim to produce 61% of Québec’s electricity via renewable resources by the year 2030. As part of this plan, they also intend to heat 25,000 with non-oil based alternatives. This includes solar PV and solar thermal.
Taking both their renewable energy goals and the current 20% rebate into account, we feel that Québec aligns very closely with our mission to propel Canada into a sustainable energy future.
For more about our mission towards 100% community energy generation in Canada, see our about page here.
Solar Power Québec: Summary
Because of Québec’s awesome net metering policy, 20% tax credit, and experienced solar installers – we rank Québec as being the #5 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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