17 AUGUST 2020
Am I Well Situated for Solar? How to Calculate Your Solar Potential Based off of Where You Live
The amount of sunshine that falls on your property determines how much energy your panels or collectors can generate. This amount is called solar irradiance and it's a measure of how much solar power you're getting at any given point on the planet. This irradiance changes throughout the day and throughout the year, depending on the location of the sun in the sky and the weather.
As you can see from the map above, southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are among the best places in Canada for solar energy due to their high solar irradiance. Does that mean you shouldn't bother installing a solar thermal or PV system if you live outside these areas? Of course not! With several decades of solar data available, anyone can calculate with great accuracy how much energy, and energy bill savings, their system will generate every day, month, year, or lifetime of the system. This calculation, along with how much energy you're using and how much you're paying for that energy, will allow you to determine the rate of return on your solar investment.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR SOLAR POTENTIAL
Global Solar Atlas. The easiest way to calculate your solar irradiance is by using the Global Solar Atlas calculator. Simply put in your location to find out your solar potential. You'll also get the optimum tilt for your location if you want to maximize your total annual energy production, and you can experiment with different tilts and panels not facing directly south. If you know what size system you want to get then you can also see how much energy you'll generate (if you're getting a thermal system, such as our FREEDOM WON, then each 30-tube collector is equivalent to 2.1 kW).
Right now is a great time to start looking into solar energy systems. With energy bills forecast to rise in the next few years as user-paid transmission projects and utility upgrades are completed, shelter yourself from these rate hikes by generating your own energy right at home. With a properly sized system the savings you'll earn can pay for the installation in as little as 5 years!
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