Market Snapshot: Which cities have the highest solar potential in Canada?

Release date: 2018-06-20

Cities in Saskatchewan have the highest solar photovoltaic (PV) generation potential in Canada.

On average, municipalities in Saskatchewan are exposed to the greatest amount of sunlight, followed by those in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.Footnote 1 Although all provinces and municipalities within Canada have solar PV potential, the extent of their potential varies widely. Exposure to the sun’s rays is affected primarily by climate, latitude, and elevation.Footnote 2 Potential sunlight is only one factor that determines solar PV potential.

The interactive map below shows the average monthly PV potential in each province.Footnote 3

Source and Description

Source: Natural Resource Canada and NEB

Description: This map shows the annual average solar potential in each province and territory in Canada, as well as select cities. Saskatchewan has the highest potential with 6.79 kilowatt hours per square meter over a month (kW.h/m²). The remaining 12 provinces and territories, listed from greatest to least solar potential in kW.h/m², are: Manitoba (6.64), Alberta (6.58), Ontario (5.99), Quebec (5.83), Northwest Territories (5.79), New Brunswick (5.74), Nunavut (5.58), Prince Edward Island (5.54), British Columbia (5.50), Nova Scotia (5.37), Yukon Territory (5.10), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4.63). Capital and major cities are also included in the map. Of the major cities, Regina is exposed to the most photovoltaic potential (7.15), followed by: Saskatoon (7.10), Calgary (6.70), Winnipeg (6.61), Edmonton (6.50), Yellowknife (6.18), Ottawa (6.09), Montreal (6.04), Toronto (5.94), Mississauga (5.93), Fredericton (5.76), Québec (5.75), Saint John (5.68), Victoria (5.68), Charlottetown (5.51), Iqaluit (5.49), Halifax (5.33), Vancouver (5.21), Whitehorse (5.02) and St. John’s (4.53).

Canadian solar power generation in 2016 was almost 30 times that of solar power generation in 2010. Based on the current economic outlook, Canadian solar generation is expected to almost triple from 3.6 TW.h in 2016 to almost 13.0 TW.h by 2040. Over 98% of Canada’s solar power generation capacity is currently located in Ontario, which has offered incentives for renewable-energy projects. However, significantly decreasing solar PV module costs have made solar much more competitive. With lower costs and some proposed renewable-portfolio standards, it is expected that more generation will be installed in more locations throughout Canada, particularly those with high PV potential.

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