Frequently Asked Questions

Does solar PV work in Alberta?

Yes. Alberta has the highest amount of annual sunshine in Canada! Germany is often cited for its successful large-scale deployment of solar energy, and Alberta has a much greater solar resource.

[Solar energy resource in Alberta versus Germany - provided by Natural Resources Canada]

Is it too cold in Alberta for Solar?

No. Solar photovoltaic (PV) performance is dependent mostly on the light from the sun. Cold temperatures do not reduce solar panel performance. In fact, the cold increases their output.

Do I need batteries for my solar PV system?

Batteries are not required for a grid-connected system. When your system produces more electricity than you use, it feeds it back into the grid and you receive a credit from your power utility company. If your system produces less than the electricity you require (usually during winter months with fewer daylight hours), you will pull from the grid. So, batteries are optional for grid-connected solar PV systems to provide back-up or self-consumption opportunities.

I’m not at home during the day when the sun is shining. What happens to all that energy?

A grid-connected solar PV system sends the energy back into the power grid. The electric utility company measures the amount of energy you send to the grid and credits your monthly power bill.

I don’t have south sloping roof. Can I still get a solar PV system?

Yes! Your roof doesn’t have to slope south for solar to work well. For example, if your solar PV system is oriented 45° from the south, the decrease in performance will only be about 10%. If the slope faces directly east and west, the decrease will be about 20%. Your system would still save you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on electricity, depending on the building size.

What happens when there is a blackout?

Solar PV equipment is designed to prevent power from going back onto the grid during a blackout. This is a safety feature that protects electrical workers from being electrocuted when they are working to get the power back on. It means that your solar PV system will be shut off until the power comes back on. If you want to the option to have power during a blackout, there are design options and equipment that can be used to avoid a blackout.

However, when battery storage (Tesla Powerwall) is incorporated into the system, it can provide energy to the home during an outage.

"Thanks to Great Canadian Solar we now have a PV system of the highest quality that students can learn from for many years to come."

- James R. Sandercock, PhD Chair - Alternative Energy Technology School of Sustainable Building and Environmental Management NAIT