Complete Guide For Solar Power Saskatchewan 2018
Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in Saskatchewan!
This page contains all available information about installing a solar power system in Saskatchewan, as of 2018.
Our prairie province gets more sunlight than anywhere else in the country – so make the most of it!
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: A
We’ve ranked Saskatchewan as being Canada’s third best province for solar power. Saskatchewan scores higher than most provinces because of SaskPower’s 20% cash rebate, high electricity prices, and for being the sunniest province in country! As of 2018, the total number of solar panel installations is 800+.
The total number includes 400 residential installs in the cities of Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current. Plus another 400 solar installs on rural properties across the province.
Curious to see how we rank our provinces? Check out our rankings and rating page to find out more.
Basics of Solar Power in Saskatchewan
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 Saskatchewan 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 SaskPower 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 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) / 1,335h
(where 1,335h equals the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours in Saskatchewan)
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 7.49 kW solar panel system!
10,000 kWh / 1,335h = 7.49 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 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 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, SaskPower Keeps
Size Limit: Up to 100 kW
Anniversary Date: Yearly, March
SaskPower’s Net Metering Program allows you to earn credit for the excess energy that you produce with your solar system which can be used to offset your energy bills. Excess power is credited for the same rate that you buy it for.
Credits can be carried forward month after month until once per year, in March, they 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).
The net metering program is available to:
- All SaskPower customers (program information)
- All Saskatoon Light & Power customers (program information)
- And recently, All Swift Current Light & Power customers
The program structure in each service area is essentially the same. However, small differences in paperwork and fees exist:
- SaskPower paperwork
- $498 new meter fee
- $315 interconnection fee
- Saskatoon L&P paperwork
- $100 application fee
Swift Current L&P
- SaskPower paperwork
- No fees!
We think that SaskPower can make their stance on renewables even stronger by removing their ridiculous fees! If you’re an upset customer and would like to see this happen, you can email complaints to [email protected].
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: B
Programs: One-time Rebate
Expiring: Nov. 30th, 2018
Every residential homeowner, rural homeowner, and business that installs a solar system under SaskPower’s Net Metering Program (above) is eligible for a 20% cash rebate. This means that SaskPower will provide you with a one-time cash payment worth 20% of your total system costs, including installation.
This rebate can be used only once and is limited to $20,000 (100 kW system). But hurry – it’s due to expire on Nov. 30th, 2018! (Check back here then for updates)
Are you ready to get started? Click here to get a free estimate for your home or business!
Electricity Costs: B
Main Provider: SaskPower
Average Rate: $0.14939/kWh
Average Fixed Cost: $25/mo
Saskatchewan has the second highest electricity rates in the country (except for the territories) and very low fixed rates. This is good news for solar power in the province because it means that you can save more money by switching to solar!
Contrast this to a place like Alberta where fixed rates can reach up to $48.
Remember… fixed rates don’t go away with usage. This means that still have to pay your monthly meter fees even if you’re generating solar power (unless you go off-grid).
Solar Potential: A+
Average Production: 6678 kWh
Main Effect: Snow
Saskatchewan has the highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving more average annual solar irradiation than any other province or territory.
According to a data collected in 2007 by National Resources Canada, the average solar system (5 kW) in Saskatchewan can produce approximately 6,678 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 Prince Albert would produce about 6,496 kWh of power
- An average solar system in Saskatoon would produce 6,742 kWh of power
- An average solar system in Regina would produce about 6,797 kWh of power
For comparison, here is what a 5 kW solar array looks like in residential Saskatoon:
(Photo used with from MiEnergy)
This means that the average Saskatchewan resident can completely offset their yearly power usage with a solar system.
You can figure out what size system you need by reading the the kWh on your power bill or from your online utility account. SaskPower explains how to read their power bills here, Saskatoon Light & Power and Swift Current Light & Power are similar.
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: 50% by 2030
Solar Energy Goals: 60 MW Planned
Saskatchewan aims to produce 50% of its electricity via renewable resources by the year 2030. This may sound great, but if you compare Saskatchewan to the rest of Canada, you realize that it’s nothing special! (see chart above)
On the bright side, SaskPower has committed to develop 60MW of utility scale solar in just the next couple of years. 20MW of these projects will be developed with the First Nations Power Authority. The first 10MW solar farm is due to begin producing power for over 10,000 homes by 2021.
We still prefer community owned solar power over utility owned, but the SaskPower goals is at least indicate that the province is on the right track.
For more about our mission towards 100% community energy generation in Canada, see our about page here.
Solar Power Saskatchewan: Summary
Because of Saskatchewan’s incredible solar potential, high electricity prices, 20% rebate, net metering program, and experienced solar installers – we rank Saskatchewan as being the #3 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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