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Canadian Solar Maps by Province


Solar maps of Canadian provinces based on monthly data provided by NRCan.
Click on an image to view it in more details.
The maps above give the mean solar energy yield i.e. DC output of PV modules – on a 2-axis tracking system. (i.e. following the sun all the time). The calculations take into account the average temperature and its effect on PV efficiency.

The maps are based on a 10 km x 10 km grid, i.e. each ‘pixel’ represents an area of 10 x 10 km,  an extremely fine resolution.

The maps below provide for each Canadian province the average solar energy yield ( DC output of PV modules) from various mounting systems: Fixed, Vertical-Axis Tracking,  Horizontal Axis Tracking,  2-axis tracking.

Other maps:

BC

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Maritimes

Solar maps of Ontario, Canada


Solar maps of Ontario based on monthly data provided by NRCan Canada.
Click on an image to view it in more details.
The maps give the mean solar energy yield of a 2-axis tracking system. (i.e. following the sun all the time). The calculations take into account the average temperature and its effect on PV efficiency.
Other maps can be found here

Solar maps of western Canada


Solar maps of western Canada based on monthly data provided by NRCan Canada.
Click on an image to view in more details.
The maps give the mean solar energy yield of a 2-axis tracking system. (i.e. following the sun all the time). The calculations take into account the average temperature and its effect on PV efficiency.
Other maps can be found here

Solar Resource Information (SRI)

Solar Resource Information is a key component at any stage of a solar project lifecycle.

  • Early development analysis
  • Site prospection.
  • Collect of solar data
  • Preliminary design.
  • Long-term energy assessment
  • Economic viability.
  • Design parameter support.
  • Utility connection.
  • Performance verification
  • Utility forecasting.

The proper siting of any renewable energy system is critical to its success. However, siting a solar energy system can be particularly challenging because of the varying nature of the sun. Daily weather fluctuations and seasonal position changes can have significant effects on a system’s performance. – NREL

EcoSmart has developed a series of tools to provide accurate SRI at any step of a solar project. We offer expert advice to make a solar plant as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Our services include:

Early Stage

  • On site data measurement
  • Acquisition of high-quality solar data
  • Data analysis and long-term energy yield prediction
  • Uncertainties and statistical analysis
  • Economic analysis (P95 and risk assessment)

Design Stage

  • Selection between fixed and tracker systems
  • Tracker optimization
  • Array tilt optimization
  • Shading and area optimization
  • PVSyst analysis
  • Simulations
  • … and more

Solar Maps P95 BC & Alberta, Canada


Solar energy yield of optimized solar system in Alberta and BC, Canada with a P95 exceedance probability over 25 years.
The maps represent the annual energy yield in kWh per kWp of a PV solar system installed on various mounting option: 2-axis (full) tracker, vertical axis tracker (VAT), horizontal axis trackers North-South (HATNS), horizontal axis trackers East-West (HATEW), polar trackers and fixed. Continue reading Solar Maps P95 BC & Alberta, Canada

Solar Maps TMY, BC & Alberta, Canada

Solar energy yield of optimized solar system in Alberta and BC, Canada based on TMY.
The maps represent the annual energy yield in kWh per kWp of a PV solar system installed on six types of mounting option: 2-axis (full) tracker, vertical axis tracker (VAT), horizontal axis trackers North-South (HATNS), orizontal axis trackers East-West (HATEW), polar trackers and fixed. Continue reading Solar Maps TMY, BC & Alberta, Canada

Solar energy in the NWT

What is the solar energy potential in NWT?

The Government of the NorthWest Territories (NWT)  has published a report outlining  the NWT solar energy deployment strategy  EcoSmart prepared the attached notes  offering some comments and suggestions based on our expertise and recent progress in solar technologies.  Our document presents also an example of feasibility for the town of Fort Providence, NWT.   In that example, the most cost-effective solar size in a hybrid soalr-diesel system would be 1.25 MWp with a cost saving of about $660,000 per year.  

Our analyses confirm that as,  NWT Solar Energy Strategy indicates, the region has great solar energy potential.   We believe that this potential could be further improved in various ways such as:

  1. Using trackers to harvest more solar energy during the long summer days.
  2. Bringing down the price of solar equipment to level at par with the world market.
  3. Optimizing dispatch of solar energy to achieve greater diesel displacement without using storage.

Document: NWT solar strategy

SunMine and SnowMan

Kimberley is known for its sun but also its ski hill and plenty of good snow in the winter.  What is the effect of snow on the solar plant output?  Will the plant be shut-off in winter?

On the contrary, snow on the ground and low temperature improve the performance of a solar system  and snow will not stay long on PV panels.

To prove it and measure other solar data, we installed a test system on site composed of a weather station measuring the sun (pyranometer), ambient temperature (thermometer) and wind speed (anemometer) and in parallel two PV arrays: one on a vertical axis tracker (VAT) and one on fixed racks.  In high latitudes, such as Kimberley, the best annual energy yield is obtained if the panels are set at a steep angle.  (56°  for the VAT and 45° for the fixed).  The description and results of the test can be found here.

Effect of snow  

PVs warm up when they produce energy. A good proxy to find out if the PV is covered with snow is to correlate the PV temperature measured at the back of the PVs with the solar radiation measured by the pyranometer on the weather station.

The figure  plots the temperature (Y-axis vs radiation X-axis) during the day for the entire test period (more than 1 million records) for the arrays on the VAT. If the snow covers the PV and prevents it from operating, it will appear as high radiation level and negative temperatures (the zone in dark blue below the x-axis).

In total, there were less than 0.2% of these occurrences, which supports the conclusion than snow is not an issue for the PV system. Three reasons for this: steep panels slope (56 °) , glassy surface of the PV modules and the fact that when the PV starts operating the temperature increases and the snow melts down.

The snow on the ground reflects the sun and increase the solar yield and the low temperature increases the overall PV electrical efficiency.

In conclusion, far from being a hindrance , SnowMan is SunMine’s best friend.

 

The cost of solar in BC

a-toonie-a-watt
a-toonie-a-watt

First cost of SunMine is 5.3 M$ for 1.05 MW or about $5 per Watt.
Nowadays typical cost of a solar project is below $2 per Watt installed (see a-Toonie-a-Watt)

Why the difference?

  • SunMine is a pilot project and a first in Western Canada. Pilot projects always cost more. The project required six years of preparation, such as preliminary studies, site monitoring, public consultation, environmental assessment, geotechnical studies, permitting, rezoning, financing and funding applications, interconnection studies and energy purchase contracting. These are one-time, fixed costs that have impacted significantly the total development cost.
  • Albeit the largest in Western Canada,  1.05 MW capacity is relatively small. There are 23 PV solar farm greater than 100 MW in the world and more in development. Small PV systems cost more, equipment is purchased in smaller quantities, fixed costs such as engineering and the pre-development costs described above represent a higher fraction of total costs.
  • There is a significant learning curve for personnel working on the project as it is the first time a ground-mounted, grid-connected solar plant in built in the region.

Incrementing SunMine after the first Megawatt is installed will be much cheaper.  The site has plenty of space for expansion, the sub-stations can accommodate 7 MW without any modification and the external transmission lines can carry at least 200 MW, after the sub-stations are upgraded. A solar plant is modular, increasing the size won’t require much additional engineering.

It is very likely that under these circumstances, the expansion of SunMine could cost less than $2/Wp.