Solar Energy Program
The Solar Energy Program was designed for customers who would like install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system to displace their own electricity needs with solar energy.
About the solar PV incentive:
- available to residential, commercial and industrial customers;
- $1 per watt installed (as per the DC rating of the solar PV system);
- minimum 1 kW system size, maximum 200 kW;
- 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;
- 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 average annual electricity consumption (kWh) at your site, and the amount of solar PV required to offset your annual electricity bill. To determine the average consumption of your site, email us and include your Manitoba Hydro account number.
If you are a residential, non-seasonal customer, you can apply for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology through Residential Earth Power Loan (REPL) under the following conditions:
- a 4.9 per cent interest rate, maximum financing term is 15 years;
- amount eligible for financing is based on $3 per watt installed up to a maximum $30,000.00 (as per the DC rating of the solar PV system);
- incentive will be applied to the loan to reduce the financing amount;
- you are responsible for project costs beyond the amount eligible for financing.
Examples of the loan and how the incentive is applied:
- Customer is installing a 5 kW solar PV system:
- Eligible for $5,000 incentive ($1/watt);
- Eligible for up to $15,000 in financing ($3/watt);
- $15,000 eligible financing − $5,000 incentive = $10,000 amount to be financed.
- Customer is installing a 30 kW solar PV system:
- Eligible for $30,000 incentive ($1/watt);
- Eligible for the maximum $30,000 in financing ($3/watt);
- $30,000 eligible financing − $30,000 incentive = $0 amount to be financed.
Any system over 30 kW or receiving an incentive of $30,000 or more will not be able to use REPL as the incentive will net out the loan.
The incentive is always applied to the loan to reduce the financing amount.
A solar installer or electrical contractor can help you with sizing the solar PV system to suit your budget and space requirements, including the ideal orientation of the system. They can discuss options for different levels of solar panel efficiency, and give quotes and expected payback periods. Ask your solar contractor questions to determine if installing a solar photovoltaic system is right for you.
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.
How to take part
Your application must be pre-approved by us prior to installing any measure(s). To be considered for the program, complete the following steps:
- Submit your completed documents:
- Solar Energy Program Application (PDF, 244 KB);
- Distributed Resource Interconnection Request (PDF, 80 KB);
- Residential Earth Power Loan Application (residential customers only)
- loan application available from an approved contractor;
- learn how to become an approved contractor.
- Single line diagram (PDF, 94 KB)
- Technical data sheets for all equipment showing catalogue performance data and efficiency rating certification.
- We will pre-approve your application.
- A certified electrical contractor must install your solar photovoltaic system.
- For property outside Winnipeg city limits, you must obtain an electrical permit from us, in accordance with Manitoba Electrical Code 64 and 84;
- For property inside Winnipeg city limits, obtain an electrical permit through the City of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development website;
- A building permit may be required through the City of Winnipeg or your local municipality.
- 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 your incentive, submit these completion documents:
- 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.