Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources has launched an open-source web-mapping application that provides estimates of photovoltaic potential and daily global insolation rates for any location in Canada.
The maps – designed by the Canadian Forest Service, the CanmetENERGY Renewable Energy Integration group, and the Federal Geospatial Platform – also include data provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“The maps are presented for each month and for the entire year, for six different PV array orientations: a sun-tracking orientation, a horizontal orientation and four fixed South-facing orientations with latitude, vertical (90 degrees) and latitude ± 15-degree tilts,” the ministry said.
The tool also allows users to collect data on single municipalities from a dataset of 3,500 municipalities. Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the provinces with the highest solar radiation levels.
However, the Economics of Solar Power in Canada report, published in late 2018 by the Canadian National Energy Board, stated that the financial break-even point for commercial solar and community projects was lower in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island than in other provinces.
The researchers found that rooftop PV, in a low-cost future scenario, is expected to save homeowners and businesses money in many Canadian communities. Utility-scale solar also becomes viable in many places in a low-cost scenario, although it may still still require fewer provincial transmission fees, or none at all.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Canada had 3.31 GW of installed capacity by the end of 2019. Most of this capacity is located in Ontario, which has supported solar through a feed-in tariff scheme that is now expired.
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