Cost of Solar Power In Canada 2020

The average installation cost of solar power in Canada is $3.01/watt, or $22,500 for a 7.5kW system. However, the cost of solar power changes depending on the size of the system required, your eligibility for solar incentives, the type of equipment used, and even on the province that you live in.

Average provincial solar installation costs can be found in the figure below:

Cost of Solar Power Canada

This page explains how to accurately calculate the cost of solar power for your property in just 3 steps. You can read from top to bottom or jump to your preferred section by clicking on it below:

System Cost Calculation

Determining the cost of installing solar power on your home ultimately comes down to two main factors:

  1. The cost that you will pay for your system (in units of $ per watt)
  2. The size of the system that you require (in units of watts)

The first factor is the number that we’ve published on this page – it’s the price that an installer will charge you “per installed watt”. The second factor requires you to do a simple calculation that takes into account your annual electricity usage and how much sunlight your province receives, on average.

1) Cost Per Installed Watt

As stated, the cost per installed watt is one of just two pieces of information that you need to determine the total cost of your solar system.

Here is the average cost per installed watt broken down by province:

British Columbia$2.54-$2.69
New Brunswick$2.65-$3.24
Newfoundland & Labrador$3.53-$4.31
Northwest Territories$2.43-$2.68
Nova Scotia$2.74-$3.35
Prince Edward Island$2.73-$3.33
Yukon Territory$2.77-$3.38

Source: research

It’s important to note that these numbers represent average costs. Systems can cost more or less depending on the size and the type of equipment used. As a general rule, a solar system in your province will be priced:

  • Higher for premium equipment and installers, or if your required size is below 7.5kW
  • Lower for standard equipment and discount installers, or if your required size is above 7.5kW

2) System Size Requirements

Sizing your solar system is about matching two factors: energy usage and energy output.

Energy Usage

Solar systems are sized based on the energy output that is required. Thus, you’ll need to determine how much energy you use over the course of a year (in units of kWh) by adding up the amount shown on your power or hydro bill.

All electricity bills are slightly different, but let’s take this one from Manitoba Hydro as en example. You can easily see that this customer used 86 kWh in the month of October:

Manitoba Hydro Bill

Go ahead and add up your bills for 12 consecutive months to determine your yearly usage.

This number typically ranges from 7,500 to 15,000kWh for normal gas-heated homes, and 20,000 to 35,000kWh for homes that use electric heaters or for those with high electricity requirements.

Energy Output

Solar Energy Production Potential Canada

The next thing you need to know is how much energy your panels will produce based on the area that you live in. Output is based purely on the amount of ‘equivalent full sunlight hours‘ that you get during the year.

Here is the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours broken down by province:

  • Alberta (1,276 hours)
  • British Columbia (1,004 hours)
  • Manitoba (1,272 hours)
  • New Brunswick (1,142 hours)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (949 hours)
  • Northwest Territories (1,064 hours)
  • Nova Scotia (1,090 hours)
  • Nunavut (1,092 hours)
  • Ontario (1,166 hours)
  • Prince Edward Island (1,104 hours)
  • Quebec (1,183 hours)
  • Saskatchewan (1,330 hours)
  • Yukon (965 hours)
  • Canada Average (1,126 hours)

Source: research

Final Cost Calculation

Now that you know both your annual energy usage and the average annual full sunlight hours that your house gets, you can calculate the size of the system you need with the following equation:

Size of system needed (in kW) = yearly energy use (in kWh) / annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours (in hours)

So let’s pretend you added up your power bills and determined that you use 10,000 kWh over the course of a year. Let’s also pretend that you live in Ontario which receives an annual average of 1,166 full sunlight hours per year. You would do the above calculation to determine that the size of the system you need is 8.58kW!

(10,000kWh / 1,166h = 8.58kW)

This number can then be multiplied by the estimated cost per watt quoted in the pricing table above to get your final price!

(8,580 Watts * $2.34-$2.59/Watt = $19,562-$23,852)

This means that a 8.58 kW system would cost between $20,077 and $22,222 in Ontario.

Interested In Going Solar?

Then read more about solar power in your province…

Canadian Solar Power Rankings

Provincial Solar Guides

Complete installation guides and rankings for every province and territory in Canada.

Clean Energy Incentives Canada

Energy Incentives

Complete list of energy programs and rebates sorted by province.

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Chris Edwards
5 months ago

You omitted the cost of back up, that makes solar wholly p[arasitic in most places, the 75% of time there is no solar what do you do? you but power at 11 cents but sell solar at 80, its callth theft.

Doug Clarke
7 months ago

Solar panels still seem really expensive. Doing the calculation shows I’d need 13,000kws so the cost would be roughly $30,000-$40,000. While I understand the labour costs of installation, what I don’t get is why solar panels don’t seem to be coming down in price. I’m no engineer. But somebody managed to get a 100 inch television to be only a few cm thick and I don’t understand why we can’t seem to bring the cost… Read more »

8 months ago

I have a 10 KW system in Southern Ontario that generated on average 9,100 kwh/year for 2017 and 2018. Using the equation above, that works out to only 910 hours of equivalent sunlight, which is 256 hours or 22% less than the above-stated 1,166 average. Either those were really cloudy years, or that average is suspect.