Cost of Solar Power Canada

Cost of Solar Power In Canada 2021

Published by Rylan Urban on Jan 14, 2019. Last updated March 11, 2021.

Cost of Solar Power Canada

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.

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.


Do you live in Alberta, BC, Ontario, Nova Scotia, or PEI? Then get a free personalized cost estimate:

Get a free cost estimate


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:

Alberta$2.51-$2.77
British Columbia$2.54-$2.69
Manitoba$2.63-$2.90
New Brunswick$2.65-$3.24
Newfoundland & Labrador$3.53-$4.31
Northwest Territories$2.43-$2.68
Nova Scotia$2.74-$3.35
Nunavut$4.00+
Ontario$2.34-$2.59
Prince Edward Island$2.73-$3.33
Québec$2.56-$2.83
Saskatchewan$2.64-$3.22
Yukon Territory$2.77-$3.38

Source: energyhub.org

It’s important to note that these numbers represent average costs. Systems can cost more or less than the average 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 Electricity 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: Solar Energy Maps Canada


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 cost!

(8,580 Watts * $2.34-$2.59/Watt = $20,077-$22,222)

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


Do you live in Alberta, BC, Ontario, Nova Scotia, or PEI? Then get a free personalized cost estimate:

Get a cost estimate


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

Clean Energy Incentives

Complete list of clean energy programs and incentives sorted by province.


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energyhub.org is licensed and protected under Creative Commons (CC BY).


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83 thoughts on “Cost of Solar Power In Canada (Updated 2021)”

  1. This is a great tool, thank you.

    I’d really appreciate if you could do a similar tool for battery storage of course.

    We’re looking at building a PassivHaus new build in the Laurentians (Québec), as a ski chalet / rental. We have hydropower and I ran the numbers coming out with 7.7 kW system based on 25 kWh per day total energy use for the home, and an installed cost of $25,100 (including sales taxes I assume are not in the installed cost table) for solar equipment alone. This is vs a hydropower cost of about $550 per month for the home.

    Not clear: are inverter and controls costs included? A line to clarify that in the main text above would be helpful.

    I see a Tesla PowerWall costs $9250 + tax each. How can we back-of-the-envelope figure out how much real battery capacity we need and the cost of the options? Obviously I’m going to reach out to local companies to find out but FYI.

    Reply
  2. Great web site. If I understand your description, these installations rely on being grid connected to support nighttime and cloudy needs. The calculations are derived from assumptions that you are collecting your entire annual household electrical need so, when there is sunlight, most (2/3 or more) of your power is being fed into the grid. You then draw from the grid when it is dark etc. Generally, do power companies pay you for your power?
    Power companies should be able to generate power cheaper then an individual household. SO I assume they pay you less then it costs you. Regardless, Isn’t the real GHG solution to get the power company to switch to industrial scale renewables? Thanks

    Reply
  3. Assuming 15 cents per kwh for average residential hydro cost, one buy a solar system of about 21K installation fee will generate roughly 1500 dollars. That’s about 7% yields not considering any other associated costs. Assuming 25 years of service with little salvage value, one can expect roughly 5% return on their investment. The actual return would be lower as there are other associated costs.

    Reply
    • Take the approx. 25000 installation fee, buy approximately 500 shares of your utility provider (Emera) and receive approx. 1280.00 in dividends ($2.444/share), put that towards your 2000 dollar per year electrical bill. That is about 64 percent in savings and you do not have a lot of aggravation.

      Also financing charges for the stock purchase can be deducted for income tax purposes. Win! Win!

      Reply
    • Depending on the installer these costs may actually be included, as we asked for the “all-in costs” when surveying companies. Good question to ask them if you go forward.

      Reply
  4. What would you do if the grid is no longer operational? This may be unlikely, but it’s certainly possible. No matter the reason, my family will be relieved I invested in Solar.

    Reply
  5. Solar panels make absolutely no sense in BC, unless there is no grid connection option. 8000 kwhr in BC only costs about $800/yr. 8 kw panels would cost about $20,000.

    One thing all the financial analysis do NOT include is your lost opportunity costs. $20,000 invested in the bank is $200/yr. That is an added solar panel cost. Borrowing the $20,000 is even stupider. A simple cost benefit is that Solar Panels NEVER pay for themselves.

    Makes no sense.

    Reply
    • Jeez you must feel sad when you buy a car.

      But more seriously, if you consider solar in lieu of bonds; as a very low risk investment aimed to stabilize a portfolio and keep up with inflation, they are great.

      In your example, 200$/year on 20k is 1% return. Currently even Wealth Simple Cash is under that, but let’s use your example as an average.

      As a rule of thumb inflation is between 2 and 3. If your money only makes 1%, your money loose value as the years goes by.

      Two big indicators of inflation is the cost of food and the cost of electricity.

      Solar panels are, by virtue of their purpose, garantee to keep up with inflation as far as electricity cost go. (Because they produce something you no longer have to buy)

      And no matter where you live, I’m pretty confident that your power bill will increase by more than what you would get as interest in a bank account… especially now.

      So don’t compare solar to equity. Even buying a house makes little sense wheb you do that. And diversification being key, everyone should have some non-equity somewhere in there port folio.

      Think of it as a low risk investement which purpose is to take care of your power bill and the inflation.

      Reply
      • That will be true when panels are not going to degrade over time. In real world that means extra $20k every 20 years or so.

        Reply
    • It’s solar. Lost opportunity cost of NOT installing em = climate change mitigation. Your analysis seems money focused (i.e., wealth generation vs environmental care & energy independence). If you care about only making money, why bother putting money towards anything that doesnt generate more money (such as mass consumption, resource/human exploitation, and the financial instruments which drive them)?

      Reply
    • You just compared apples to oranges. Solar panels return profit in climate change and a better future for your children. But feel free to invest your money in more money. It’s not like you can spend it anyway when the world ends. But maybe you don’t have children which is why you can’t understand the point of solar panels. Which is also your best contribution to society– not replicating. So in that case you are a net-zero human. Well done.

      Reply
    • IS that Common Core Math your doing Gary? Most Solar panels last for 25 years. Ya guess you forgot about that and calculate on 1 year lol. Better brush up on your math dumb dumb

      Reply
  6. In my area the sun angle on Jan 15th (the coldest Day) is 23 degrees. Is there any advantage to having the south facing panels at 23 degrees?

    Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
    • Most people who install solar remain connected to the grid. Thus, the cost of ‘back-up’ power is essentially the fixed monthly fee you pay your utility to remain connected to use their services. The grid provides you both unlimited storage and back-up capacity.

      Reply
  8. 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 of PV cells down. Is there a explanation ? Seems if we could get payback to be a couple of years, everyone would be onboard. Why can’t we get “better” panels so we don’t need so many ?

    Reply
    • I believe that the panel cost has not come down as ALL the Canadian manufacturers have been forced out of business. I was speaking with one company from Quebec in November. He said Trump tariffs had basically shut them down and now they provided Chinese panels. Keep in mind, the cost will be returned to you, but it will take many years. It is the RIGHT thing to do…but as yet is not cost effective. I am installing a complete set in the spring..and I will be looking at about what you spent also. It is a BETTER Investment then buying a Tesla, half the cost, with a far better long term return.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your response Brad. I’m assuming there are no “Made in Canada” panels as of yet. I was wondering about the tariffs as a factor and disappointed we’re shutting down as a result. Frankly, I’d like to support a Tesla using solar panels if I could find an efficient cost balance that didn’t result in significant debt.

        Reply
    • Hi, the costs are too high, my company installs in Kelowna BC. We use SolarEdge Technology and Hanwha 365w panels. 10kWp Typical cost installed is $20,000 plus HST. 28 panels SE10000H inverter P400 optimizers.

      Reply
    • Hi Doug, be aware that this technology even if it as been around for the past 40 years (space), it has only been accessible to public in the last decade. I am confident that the effort put toward solar panel will reach much lower price than TV. Now for instance solar panel are as expensive as some building material. Furthermore, what is lacking in this field is a real lead technology. In displays, nowadays there is only few big leaders that have put intensive effort to reduce price. In PV there is still so many technologies that compete, it is difficult yet to see who would be the leader!

      Reply
      • Thanks Fabien, this is a great response and fundamental to my question. Any idea why none of the technologies has taken a lead role ? I’ve also heard PV cells are only 19% efficient. Is that your understanding ? I wonder what it would take to get to 80% ? Presumably that could cut the cost dramatically and take up less real estate on my roof.

        Reply
        • Hey Doug, this is a good though – but there are fundamental limits of the current technologies that prevent them from getting anywhere near 80%. One trend that may be more important to look at, if you’re interested in the technical details, is the improvements in the amount of power that can be produced from a single panel. This is not done by improving efficiency, it’s done by changing how the cells are laid out, capturing reflected light from the backside, altering the glass’ coating material, etc.

          Reply
    • Because they are already subsidised by china, do do it solar is wholly useless and teh subsidies are goung worldwide because it doesnt work, At present the real generators provide back up for nothing. Last year India made the solar and wind crooks give 24 hour predictions of output, penalties for falling short. All countries will stop this scam soon.

      Reply
    • Solar panels have come down significantly, in Ontario, since the Liberals introduced the feed-in-tarrif program 10 years ago. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon to see solar costing $10/watt and we’re down to as low as $2.25/watt today. As for “better” panels, the technology is limited by how much usable solar radiation can be captured. A standard panel is somewhere around 25-30% efficient. We just don’t have the capability to exceed that right now, without serious degradation of the panel.

      Reply
      • Thx for your response Joel. Have you heard / read anything about these 3 dimension panels ? I’ve read they allow for non-direct sunlight which in theory would eliminate the need for the panels moving and increase their efficiency. Not sure how close they are to coming to market. I also wonder if they will be or are more expensive than standard panels.

        Reply
        • I’ve heard some discussions about 3D panels and they are still in the early development stages. From a footprint standpoint, they sound like a great option, once they figure out the shading between towers. On a cost/watt scale, I expect they will be more expensive than standard panels due to economies of scale.

          Reply
          • @Doug, what Joel says here is similar to what I was trying to express above. 3D panels would be another creative way to capture more irradiation per unit area.

    • How much of that cost is for the panels?
      How much does the installation cost?
      For a 13Kws system (40 * 325-watt panel), the panel cost should be around $14k. The other electronic gears and labor are not that much expensive. The profit margin is much higher than it could be

      Reply
    • Frequently the solar panels are the cheapest part of the system. The inverters and panel cost more, and then add installation.

      Reply
    • Solar panels ,to my mind, are not expensive to build and over priced by the seller. I bought a 150 watt panel from Canadian Tire and it cost me 250 bucks. A 30 in screen tv is cheaper than that which has many components and harder to build while some parts of the poor countries the people are assembling their own panels to power their shacks. Solar is being used to rip the people off the same way the electrical and oil companies are . The only ones who win at this are the producers and sellers.

      Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. The information on this site is not factual. Please do your home work before you go out and invest in any solar system. Fact 1: The pay back period far exceeds the life of the solar power system itself. Not to mention the cost of removing the panels and mounting hardware to re-shingle your home and then reinstall the system (should you live in the same home for the next 30 years)! Fact 2: the Federal and Provincial governments know that the average Canadian family will relocate 2 to 5 times in their life span. (now how expensive is that solar system)? Last but not least these solar systems would not exist if it were not for OIL. GAS AND COAL all three of these products are used along with a number of other chemicals to produce the solar panels, inverters, batteries electrical wires and the galvanized hardware used in the installation. So please before you just jump into this huge investment! Think about this: If the Governments, Big Industry and the Rich were serious about our environment than they would make all the reuse able energies affordable to all and I guarantee that everyone would convert tomorrow.

    Now Greta go home and file a law suit against your parents and the environmental group that is using you (child exploitation)! Child exploitation is a serious crime in Canada. If you are under the age of 18 you do not have a legal right to vote, you mommy and daddy are suppose to be looking out for your health and welfare not taking hundreds of thousands of dollars as you are being put in harms way when you come to foreign country and belittle the Canadian citizens because companies like BC Hydro are charging outrageous pricing for the electricity that we are forced to use to heat our homes as there is no other option outside of fossil fuels.

    Reply
    • I just cracked the numbers, and it doesn’t look bad for my house to put solar panels on. (It could be better.) It is nice to see correct numbers reasonably available, the numbers provided here are hard to track down and figure out.

      Other than that, what ever… I’m glad that you still support buggy whips and steam. As you know, that’s what we used to build cars, and I love seeing them in museums these days.

      Global Warming isn’t theory. Its applied engineering. We use all the same physics in oil and gas and in the military. GHGSat was built for the oil sands, and the navy requires and has gathered ocean heat content measurements to keep you alive for your entire life. (Its needed to hunt subs.) In fact in Canada its the military that gathers and processes all this data.

      Greta isn’t exploited at all, and everyone knows this;
      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/sep/01/swedish-15-year-old-cutting-class-to-fight-the-climate-crisis

      Reply
      • Hello Peter. Are you upset because I am questioning the validity of the true cost of Solar Energy or are you up set that I am upset at the fact that a young girl is being exploited by her parents (guardians)and that is against the moral values of this great country that is called Canada.

        I will agree with you on one thing. “Global Warming isn’t theory” Global Warming is proven through science. All the groups and extremists that are fear mongering and continue to say that this global emergency that the world is in today, needs to provide the true facts not made up stories.

        I urge you to take a look at NCEI National Center for Environmental Information (formerly known as the National Climatic Data Center) web site! It gives a very brief scientific description of the interglacial period that the earth is currently experiencing. Maybe you can show this scientific data to Greta and get her to give the world an educated response.

        In closing. All people on earth have a responsibility to do what they can to slow this interglacial period but the scientific fact is the world will continue to warm and a few thousand years from now it will change abruptly, and then the worst is yet to come when Antarctic begins to change things drastically.

        Reply
        • Well… you did engage in a Gish Gallop ‘light’.. so its hard to separate points out.
          “Are you upset because I am questioning the validity of the true cost of Solar Energy” I would direct you read my post. I said, “I just cracked the numbers, and it doesn’t look bad for my house to put solar panels on. (It could be better.) It is nice to see correct numbers reasonably available, the numbers provided here are hard to track down and figure out.”

          “…or are you up set that I am upset at the fact that a young girl is being exploited by her parents…” You are lying. You have no evidence of this. (Failure to provide evidence to me constitutes an admission that you agree that you are lying.) Telling me that you personally privately believe that no child is capable of intelligent critical thought is laughable. Gifted kids are out there.

          As for your claims that global warming will be drowned out by sunspots and tectonic plate changes.. Go fetch some evidence. The “climate has always changed” is a spent meme. There are hundreds of textbooks on this subject, and all of them say you are wrong. CO2 is now already a strong enough forcing to prevent the next ice age.
          https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide

          Reply
  11. The cost of solar in the neighbor US is 0.7-1 USD per watt, that is 1-1.3 CAD…..any explanation why few kilometers away from a well developed country (US) will cost double ?

    Reply
    • Hi Mr. Incredulous -> The generation may be intermittent, but combined with a net metering program or storage system, this is not nearly as big of an issue as you would first suspect! There is also the opportunity for reasonable payback periods and even profit depending on your system and what province you are located in.

      Reply
      • Look at Alberta: There is a group of energy retailers that pays you 4X the variable rate in summer when your exports are high. There are many, many residential solar owners that are turning a profit, including me. This is net profit, including all fixed and variable fees. I use the extra money to pay off my gas bill! There is clearly a gap in knowledge out there.

        Reply
    • Hi Luke, the prices do not include any rebate. Location and system specific incentives would be applied as a discount to the prices reported here.

      Reply
  12. In my case I plan to rack mount solar panels on our flat roof Quadruplex. I am calculating about 30 panels would meet our needs although filling the entire useable space would allow 80 to 100 rack mounted 1 metre panels. From ground level I measure my building footprint at 10 metres by 10 metres, attached on one side to the next duplex. What are the cost benefit arguments of going larger. than my own 30,000 kwh needs. We have an electric adapted elevator and heat quite warm with large windows and a big garage on basement level. A family member occupies one unit with separate electric metering. Could this address benefit from our solar or does this require a completely independant installation. THe master unit is 3 levels sole with garage access. Our most recent annual consumption was $2,727.28 for 369 days 28,983 kWh

    Reply
  13. This is a great example and appreciate it being put together for the public to use. The one thing that comes to mind that I don’t see is the explanation of a ground mount versus a roof mount system, so the pricing I see here would refer to a roof mount system and a ground mount would be up to a dallor more per watt. Just thought I would clarify that but if anyone disagrees let me know. Also some price differences could be that taxes are included or not included so make sure you know as it could make a bit of a difference.

    Reply
    • Hi Ron, thank you for the input. These prices are indeed reflective of a ~7.5kW roof mount system. Ground mount systems of similar size are slightly more (because more racking equipment is needed), but may be cheaper under other circumstances (when the system is very large).

      Reply
  14. This is an informative article on the cost of solar panels in Canada. It has all the details regarding how your bills are calculated, how much you save, how much energy is consumed and how much energy is saved. The images are the best part of this article it helped to understand most of the things. Thank you for sharing this article.

    Reply

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