Solar

Solar Energy Program

The Solar Energy Program is aimed at customers who would like to displace their own energy needs with solar energy.

Residential, commercial, and industrial incentives

Our solar PV incentive is available to all residential, commercial, and industrial customers, under the following conditions:

  • you will receive $1 per watt installed (as per the DC rating of the solar PV system);
  • your system size is minimum 1 kW, maximum 200 kW;
  • the incentive is paid at the end of the project, once the PV system is installed and passes inspection.

Your incentive will be limited by the annual electrical load displacement requirement of the site, based on a two year average annual electrical consumption. To determine the average consumption of your site, email us.

A solar company or contractor can help you with sizing your system, determine if solar PV suits your building, give quotes, and estimate expected payback periods. Ask your solar contractor questions to determine if installing a solar photovoltaic system is right for you.

You must be connected to our grid and follow the distributed resource interconnection procedures. Systems greater than 10 kW may be subject to a customer-paid feasibility study.

A certified electrical contractor must install the system. Once the CSA or ULc approved inverters and solar panels are installed and inspected, we will install a bi-directional meter. This meter monitors power imported from the grid and power exported from the solar panels.

For more information on solar technology, visit the Canadian Solar Industries Association.

To determine estimated energy savings based on your location, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory PVWatts® Calculator.

Residential loan

If you are a residential customer, you can apply for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology through Residential Earth Power Loan under the following conditions:

  • a 4.9 per cent interest rate;
  • maximum $30,000 financing;
  • based on $3 per watt installed (as per the DC rating of the solar PV system).

If you're participating in both the loan and incentive program, the incentive will be applied to the loan to reduce the financing amount. The loan is applicable to residential, non-seasonal customers only.

How to take part

You must receive pre-authorization before you purchase or install any equipment. To apply:

  • Submit your completed documents:
  • We will pre-approve your applications.
  • A certified electrical contractor must install your solar photovoltaic system.
  • Make changes to your existing service.
  • Once installed, the solar PV system must pass electrical inspection.
  • After your system has passed inspection, we will contact you. You must sign an Electric Service Agreement and pay for a bi-directional meter at a Manitoba Hydro district office. Our district staff will then arrange for the installation of a bi-directional meter.
  • To receive payment, the following completion documents are required:
    • Solar Energy Program Completion Declaration (PDF, 200 KB);
    • copy of documentation indicating the installation has passed electrical inspection;
    • paid invoices OR contractor invoice (if participating in the Residential Earth Power Loan).
  • An incentive cheque will be mailed to you or applied to your Residential Earth Power Loan.

For more information, contact us.

Solar photovoltaic systems

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells are made of semiconductor materials and designed to convert sunlight into electricity through the photoelectric effect. When photons (packets of light energy) strike solar cells, a reaction releases electrons that produce voltage to drive an electric current.

There are many things that use PV for power, such as garden lighting systems, calculators, and remote, off-grid electricity sources designed to power farms and cottages. But as PV costs have continued to come down, the technology has become more attractive for wide-scale use in Manitoba. Solar PV can now be used to run homes and businesses, and depending on the installation size, provide electrical power to the grid.

Solar thermal systems

Solar thermal processes use technology to directly produce heat from sunlight. There are 2 processes are passive solar heating and active solar heating:

  • Passive solar heating systems collect and store solar energy by design through windows, walls, floors and pipes using natural heat flow processes (e.g. conduction and convection). Dense building materials such as stone may be used to store the heat for release at night.
  • Active solar heating systems move absorbed heat in air or fluids (e.g. water, oil or molten salt) with a fan or pump. The main components of active solar heating systems include the collector, circulation unit with controls and typically a storage unit.

Solar thermal technologies are used in many ways to heat and cool buildings, heat swimming pools, provide households with hot domestic water or on a large scale provide steam to turn a turbine in an electrical power generation station.

Concentrated solar thermal systems (CSP) use mirrors or lenses to concentrate solar radiation onto a collector that converts the radiation into electricity (e.g. with a Stirling engine) or steam for use in large scale electrical power production or high temperature heating applications such as building thermal management or industrial processes. CSP can provide low carbon, renewable energy resources in countries or regions with strong direct normal irradiance (DNI). While southern Manitoba has one of the best solar resources in Canada (DNI of 1,800 to 2,400 kWh/m2/year); due to higher costs most North American CSP systems have been located in the southwestern United States.

Our downtown head office building is designed to achieve a building energy reduction target of 60 per cent with the help of solar heating systems that take advantage of Winnipeg's annual 2,300 hours of sunshine.