The most common question we get from homeowners is ’how much does it cost to install solar panels in Edmonton.’ Of course, there are a number of variables that can impact an estimate for residential solar systems. With this in mind, we decided to detail a few issues that we think have a significant influence on an estimate.
5 Items that Impact the Cost of Solar in Edmonton and the rest of Alberta
1. Rules for Annual Electrical Consumption in Alberta
In Alberta, we are regulated by the Microgeneration Regulations. These regulations state that we can’t design and install a solar PV system that will produce more power on an annual basis than you consume. We will look at your previous electrical bills to ensure we don’t exceed this capacity. A system sized to offset your entire annual electrical capacity would be the largest system we could get approved.
2. Electrical Service Capacity and Roof Capacity for Solar
Both of these are limiting factors in the design. If your roof does not have enough space to fit the solar PV Modules, we might not be able to size a system to offset your entire annual electrical consumption. Additionally, if the electrical service to your home is too old or small, we would be required to either upgrade the service or downsize the PV system to not overload it.
Before asking for an estimate, have some sort of minimum budget in mind. This will likely be the biggest factor you’ll consider when getting quotes. Also beware that even with the available rebates, typically the system has to be paid for in full before you receive a rebate cheque back in the mail.
Typically the cost of solar installation ranges from $10,000 - $18,000. There are options for financing your PV system, adding it to your mortgage, or even enrolling in a new pilot project like the City of Edmonton’s CEIP program which would pay the contractor directly and add the total cost of the system onto your property tax bill. BLDG Electric is an approved CEIP contractor.
Type of solar system
4. Microinverters vs. Optimizers
There are strengths and weaknesses to each system. Evaluate what you think would be the best system based on the available information and listen to why the contractors are proposing a specific system. The contractors you find on Solar Alberta have undergone training and would be knowledgeable in providing you with the system that will perform the best for your unique home. Check out our most recent article that provides a deeper dive on Microinverters and Optimizers.
5. Contract, Permitting and Approvals
Once you’ve gotten quotes and picked a contractor, they’ll need to apply for permits, get the microgeneration agreement approved, get structural approval, and get the development permit issued prior to starting work. All of this can take 4-6 weeks depending on the municipalities’ speed in reviewing and approving the development permit. Take that into account – if you want your solar installed first thing in the spring, you should likely enter into a contract with a contractor as early as February or March. That way all the paperwork can get completed and out of the way beforehand, and when the weather warms up the installation can happen first thing.
Construction is typically the fastest part of the process. Typically your system can be installed, inspected, commissioned and energized in a few days. After this is done, your system is ready to produce power for many years to come.