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.
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.
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
- Solar PV panels are mounted to a sunny South or West facing roof and absorb energy from the sun
- An inverter converts the direct current electricity from the panels into a usable form of electricity (alternating currents)
- Power is transported through the building to anything that requires electricity
- A performance monitoring system monitors the amount of electricity produced by the system
- 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.