Manitoba Hydro helps homeowners harness the sun

April 22, 2016

New program supports emerging solar photovoltaic technology

Coinciding with Earth Day, Manitoba Hydro is launching a new program designed to help Manitobans harness the power of the sun. The new Power Smart Solar Energy Program offers incentives and financial support for home and business owners to adopt solar power to allow them to generate their own electricity, and sell excess energy back to Manitoba Hydro.

“Manitoba Hydro has a history of delivering Power Smart programming to help our customers - individual home owners, businesses and industries - conserve energy and reduce their bills,” said Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Kelvin Shepherd. “And the new Solar Energy Program is a continuation of our leadership in that area.”

While Manitoba Hydro already has one of the most renewable energy systems in the world, Shepherd said solar energy is an emerging renewable technology that Manitoba Hydro has been following for years. The solar photovoltaic (PV) systems covered by the new program use solar cells to convert solar energy directly into electricity.

“We want to be involved in these emerging technologies, which are improving and becoming more cost-effective,” said Shepherd. “As the cost-effectiveness improves, these technologies become an increasingly viable option both for Manitoba Hydro and consumers.’

“It’s another way of offering an additional choice of energy sources to our customers.”

In Winnipeg, a typical single roof-top solar PV module provides approximately 250 watts of power and takes up 1.5 square metres. It produces enough electricity to run your kitchen lights.

Installed with a special bi-directional meter, a customer can use the electricity generated from their solar PV panels when they need it or sell it back to Manitoba Hydro when they don’t.

Shepherd said the Solar Energy Program, open to residential and commercial customers, will provide solar PV installations an incentive of one dollar per watt installed, which will cover roughly 25 per cent of the upfront capital cost of a new installation.

“Combined with the ability to finance in monthly installments on your Manitoba Hydro bill, this incentive will make investing in this energy option easy for our customers,” Shepherd said.

“The Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association (ManSEA) welcomes the initiative to expand the use of solar energy in our province,” said Wayne Clayton, chair of the Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association. “ManSEA looks forward to working with Manitoba Hydro and Manitobans to continue to expand on our renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy in Manitoba.”

Shepherd added the new Power Smart Solar Energy Program is part of the utility’s demand-side management plan to reduce energy use in the province.

“Under our current Power Smart plan, Manitoba Hydro customers are anticipated to save $2.5 billion cumulatively over the next 15 years on their energy bills,” Shepherd said.

Customers can visit Manitoba’s Hydro’s sources of energy or phone 204-360-4018 for more information on the new Solar Energy Program.