1) Introduction to Solar PV
Page 3, Image of three solar modules

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Solar energy potential in Canada, Yes really!

The solar energy potential for an area helps to determine the amount of energy a PV system can generate. The greater the amount of sunlight or irradiance in an area the lower the cost of energy.

Solar energy potential is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) generated per kilowatt (kW) of PV installed. The image below of Western Canada shows the potential annual electricity generation from PV. It can range from approximately 800 to 1400 kWh/kW.


PV potential and Insolation map of Western CanadaPV potential and Insolation Map: Western Canada

Source: Natural Resources Canada (NRC). (2007). Retrieved February 1, 2010, from NRC. Additional resources can be found at: Photovoltaic potential and solar resource maps of Canada

Compare the PV potential from Canadian cities and other major cities of the World

The chart provides estimates of the electricity that can be generated by grid connected PV arrays. The performance ratio quantifies and takes into account overall system losses due to operation under non-ideal conditions: climatic factors, inverter operation and so on.

When designing a system we request a year’s worth of electrical utility bills from the client to determine how much energy is needed each year. We then design a system to meet this demand.

Thus, a residential home in Edmonton that uses approximately 6,000 kWh per year of electricity, would require a 5kW system to produce the necessary energy (~6,225 ) each year.

(5kW x 1245 kW h/kW = 6,225KWh )

The table below lists several municipal rankings in terms of yearly PV potential (for South-facing PV panels with latitude tilt).

Major Canadian cities and capitals

Yearly PV potential

Major cities worldwide

Yearly PV potential
Regina (Saskatchewan) 1361 Cairo, Egypt 1635
Calgary (Alberta) 1292 Capetown, South Africa 1538
Winnipeg (Manitoba) 1277 New Delhi, India 1523
Edmonton (Alberta) 1245 Los Angeles, U.S.A. 1485
Ottawa (Ontario) 1198 Mexico City, Mexico 1425
Montréal (Quebec) 1185 Regina, Canada 1361
Toronto (Ontario) 1161 Sydney, Australia 1343
Fredericton (New Brunswick) 1145 Rome, Italy 1283
Québec (Quebec) 1134 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1253
Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) 1095 Beijing, China 1148
Yellowknife (Northwest Territories) 1094 Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 1133
Victoria (British Columbia) 1091 Paris, France 838
Halifax (Nova Scotia) 1074 St. John’s, Canada 933
Iqaluit (Nunavut) 1059 Tokyo, Japan 885
Vancouver (British Columbia) 1009 Berlin, Germany 848
Whitehorse (Yukon) 960 Moscow, Russia 803
St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador) 933 London, England 728

Data Source: Natural Resources Canada. (2007).

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