Guide to Solar Panel Installations in Alberta

The installation process of solar in Alberta

The Alberta solar power industry is experiencing rapid growth. Little wonder considering the province experiences the second-highest solar production potential in the country (1,276 kWh/kW/year), behind Saskatchewan. 

With significant sunlight and optimal conditions, installing solar panels is a simple way to reduce energy bills and CO2 emissions.

However, unlike traditional electricity generation, solar panels require the homeowner or business to invest significant sums upfront. It’s a daunting prospect.

We’ve produced this solar panel installation guide in Alberta to reduce any confusion. We’ll discuss who can benefit, how to choose a solar panel company, and what you’ll need to get started.

Installing solar panels in Alberta is easier than ever – you just need a little know-how. Read on to find out more.

Who should install solar panels?

In a nutshell – everyone. Homeowners, businesses, school boards, municipalities, and more can all see significant savings from solar installations in Alberta. It’s a common myth that solar doesn’t work well in winter.

Wherever there’s space to fit a solar panel and the sun can shine, even on cloudy days, the electricity generated will either power your needs or be sold back to the grid. It’s that simple.

You will need a significant initial investment for the upfront cost of solar panel installation. But, when spread over the 30-to-40-year lifespan of the average solar panel, it’s a relatively small cost. In fact, solar panels can deliver an energy payback within the first 2 to 3 years. With costs recuperated in 7 to 16 years, depending on the local climate.

The cost of installing solar panels ranges around an average of $12,000 to $25,000 for a home solar panel system.

Read this blog: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost to Install and Maintain for more information.

solar panel installation guide

Choosing a solar panel company (and what to ask)

When looking for the best solar panel company in Alberta, you will want to understand important factors to ensure you’re going with the most trusted solar energy contractor in Alberta. Some information we recommend looking into are:

  • Number of reviews
  • Past client testimonials
  • The experience level of the contractors, and more indicate their reliability
  • Do they have great customer service and warranty?
  • The number of years the company has been in service

You’ll also want to ask some critical questions to appraise their standards and value. Here are some suggestions:

  1. How long do your solar panels last? Solar panels typically last upwards of 25 years.
  2. Are your solar panels made with tempered glass? Tempered glass is the strongest protective cover for photovoltaic cells.
  3. What is your product warranty? Most companies provide a warranty based on damage and efficiency (typically ~80%).
  4. What is the cost of a solar panel?
  5. What grants or rebates are available to reduce the panel cost? Take a look at the current rebates in Alberta.
  6. What is the cost of installation?
  7. How long will the installation take?
  8. How many years of solar installation experience do you have?

In addition to the above questions, you’ll want to know how many solar panels they’ve previously installed, what industry accreditations they have, and if they subcontract their work to other vendors.

You should ask for 3 to 6 references for similar projects and follow up on the references given. Moreover, ask for documentation such as:

  • Proof of comprehensive general liability insurance
  • Proof of Workers Compensation Board insurance

You can also ask if they’re licensed or part of recognized industry organizations, like:

  • Member of Solar Alberta
  • Licensed electrical contractor
  • Member of APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta)

Be careful choosing a solar power company with “too good to be true” prices and deals. Going cheap doesn’t make sense for an investment over the next 30 years.

While so-called “gut instinct” isn’t an objective measure, there’s usually a good reason why you don’t feel confident in a company.

solar panel installation requirements

Solar Panel Installation Requirements in Alberta: What’s needed?

You can’t install solar panels on your home or building without the necessary documentation. You’ll need:

  • Electrical permit. Pulled by a Master Electrician, it informs the local electrical authorities about the work being completed.
  • Development or building permit. Some jurisdictions will require you to provide this permit.
  • Micro-generation application. You’ll need to apply to the Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) to export your solar power to the electrical retailer for credit. It’ll appear on your monthly power bill.
  • Grant application. The Alberta government provides grants and rebates for solar panel installations in certain instances. Ask your solar panel company about these opportunities.

What makes a house ideal for solar panels in Alberta?

When we install solar systems, we use four criteria to evaluate if a house is optimal for solar panels. Houses that don’t fit these criteria can still benefit, but they won’t see the same level of return:

  1. Faces true south, west or east – but will depend on several factors.
  2. 100% solar access all year round, e.g., shading from trees or buildings.
  3. The solar array can be tilted to an equal angle to your latitude
  4. The property meets other conditions, e.g., proximity to grid connection, easy access for installation and maintenance, wiring distances, dust levels, and more.
solar panel installation process

Installation Process for Solar Panel System in Alberta

Solar panel systems in Alberta typically follow a few simple steps:

  1. Speak to the solar panel company. You’ll begin with a phone conversation where the company will answer all your questions (or write to you).
  2. Economic analysis. The company will use satellite imagery and electricity bills to provide an economic analysis of your property and the potential benefits you can expect. They’ll also visit your site to evaluate the project and determine how best to attach the solar panels.
  3. Proposal. The solar panel company will deliver a bid unique to your property based on their analysis. You’ll then discuss what you like and dislike – the plans will be revised accordingly.
  4. Installation. It typically takes one to two days for solar panels to be installed on a roof under the guidance of a Master Electrician.
  5. Inspection. The authorities will inspect the installation to ensure it meets the Canadian Electrical Code standards, and the system will be verified. You’ll then be told essential information about upkeep.

Read this blog: Solar Panel Installation Process in Alberta [5-Easy Steps] for more information.

Installing solar panels in Alberta is simple

Using our easy-to-follow solar panel installation guide, you can reduce the stress and hassle of solar installations in Alberta. Remember – you’ll need to verify any solar panel company’s reliability and expertise.

Ask all the questions listed, as well as any other pertinent to your property. For further information, please review our other resources or refer to the Solar Alberta website.

Interested in knowing more about how Gridworks Energy can help?

Contact Gridworks Energy to get more information about the process of installing solar panels in Alberta.


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