Solar Energy

With an average of 2,396 hours of sunlight each year, Calgary is an ideal city for solar technology.

Increasingly, Calgarians, businesses and The City are evaluating and using alternative energy sources and technologies to operate their homes and buildings. That’s why The City has released the solar potential map. It is intended to be a starting point for people who are curious about the viability of solar as an energy source for their particular building.

Helping Provide Safe and Clean Drinking Water with Solar Power

A 626.7 kW recent addition to The City’s solar PV project inventory was completed in November 2017. That’s 1,740 LG solar panels rated at 360W, producing enough electricity to power over 100 average Calgary homes and displace an estimated 500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, assuming about 1,200 kWh per year of production per installed kW.

The project is anticipated to achieve a payback within 10 years by helping avoid an average of $90,000/year in electricity costs for the water treatment plant. Delivered at approximately $1.35M, the project was partially funded through an investment of approximately $400,000 from the Alberta Municipal Solar Program bringing the City’s investment to $950,000, at an internal rate of return (IRR) of 7%. The system is anticipated to generate electricity for over 20 years.

Combined with a project delivered in early 2017 at Glenmore Water Treatment Plant (at 291.7 kW), over 1.1 million kWh of solar-powered renewable electricity is now being generated at Calgary water treatment plants. That’s enough electricity to power 157,000 smart phones for a year (assuming 7 kWh per year to charge a phone)

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system at Southland Leisure Centre

The Southland Leisure Centre solar PV project was expected to provide between 161,000 to 184,000 kWh of electricity to offset grid electricity during the first full year of production. In 2016, the project generated 163,250 kWh of electricity, helping offset approximately $24,000 in electricity costs for the facility for that year. Based on the system performance and electricity costs avoided to date, the updated financial returns on the project conservatively indicate 4.76% internal rate of return and a payback within 13 years.

There are multiple categories of potential avoided costs, including rate riders and balancing pool allocations, which are excluded from this forecast due to the uncertainty of their values into the future. This exclusion increases the conservativeness of the forecasted rate of return. Forecasted system performance is also reduced at a rate of 0.89% per annum (as recommended by the panel manufacturer) to account for the anticipated degradation of system performance over time.

Learn More

Want to see more information on how the Southland Leisure Centre solar PV plant is performing?

The SolarEdge monitoring system provide access to historic electricity production data and hourly updates on system performance.

Why Solar?

In 2012, Calgary City Council directed Administration to ensure that 100% of The City’s operations are powered by 100% renewable electricity. This direction was given as one among many measures to ensure Calgary was on track to meet our City’s objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The City uses a variety of sources of renewable electricity, including distributed solar, combined heat and power from biogas, landfill gas to power, and a long-term purchase agreement with ENMAX to supply renewable electricity from a variety of sources across Alberta.

This project supports The City’s priority of making Calgary a healthy and green city by investing in renewable energy. This project was funded by The City of Calgary’s Sustainable Buildings Partnership Program.

For more information:

Other Solar PV projects

Project Name Address Size [kW] Completion Year Performance Tracking System
Municipal Building 800 MacLeod TR SE 1 2008 Not Available
Fire Station No. 30 - McKenzie Towne 6 McKenzie Towne GA SE 1 2010 Not Available
Ralph Klein Legacy Park 12350 84 ST SE 2 2010 Not Available
69th St. Park and Ride 7085 17 AVE SW 30 2011 Not Available
Fire Station No. 22 - Temple 7199 Temple DR NW 1 2011 Not Available
Fire Station No. 24 - Cedarbrae 2607 106 AVE SW 1 2011 Not Available
Fire Station No. 8 – Rosscarrock 1720 45 ST SW 1 2011 Not Available
Fire Station No. 5 – South Calgary 3129 14 ST SW 4 2012 Not Available
Bearspaw Operations Work Centre 10010 Bearspaw Dam RD NW 50 2014 Not Available
Southland Leisure Centre 2000 Southland DR SW 153 2015 Learn more
Hilhurst-Sunnyside Community Association 1320 5 AVE NW 30 2016 Learn more
Richmond-Knobhill Community Association 2433 26 AVE SW 11 2016 Learn more
 Glenmore Water Treatment Plant 2001 56 AVE SW  292 2017 Learn more
Fire Headquarters 4144 11 ST SE 17 2017 Learn more
North Corporate Warehouse 2340 22 ST NE 115 2017  Learn more
Whitehorn Multi-Services 3705 25 ST NE 415 2017 Learn more
Fire Station No. 7 - Mount Pleasant 2708 4th ST NW 32 In progress  Learn more
Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant 11144 Bearspaw Dam RD NW 626 In progress  In progress
Manchester Building M 651M 25 AVE SE 37 In progress  Learn more
TELUS Spark PV Roof-Mount 220 St. Georges DR NE 108 In progress  Learn more
Shepard Solar Park 12111 68 ST SE 1,080 In progress In progress

How It Works

Solar PV Systems

  1. Solar PV panels are mounted to a sunny South or West facing roof and absorb energy from the sun
  2. An inverter converts the direct current electricity from the panels into a usable form of electricity (alternating currents)
  3. Power is transported through the building to anything that requires electricity
  4. A performance monitoring system monitors the amount of electricity produced by the system
  5. Any electricity that is not used in the building is passed through the Calgary electricity grid and used to provide power to others in the community

Benefits of using solar technology:

  • Improving Calgary’s ecological footprint
  • Increasing Calgary’s supply of renewable energy
  • Reducing utility costs

Interested in installing solar panels at your home? In January 2009, the Government of Alberta’s Micro-generation regulation came into effect. This regulation is a set of simplified rules that allows Albertans to generate their own environmentally friendly electricity. Visit the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) website to learn more about this regulation and how to find local energy providers to discuss your solar options.