Solar Power New Brunswick

Complete Guide For Solar Power New Brunswick 2021

Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for going solar in New Brunswick!

Canadian Solar Power Rankings

New Brunswick is currently ranked the #10 province in the country for installing a solar power system, scoring as one of the best provinces for financing options and net metering policy.

This page contains all relevant information about installing solar in New Brunswick including utility policies, system financing, solar incentives, and natural factors – updated as of May 1st, 2021.

The guide begins by answering the two most common questions about solar systems, then it explores each solar ranking factor.

You can read from top to bottom, or skip to your preferred section by clicking on it below:


Common Solar Questions

When thinking about solar power, the first two questions that often come to a person’s mind are:

  • “How big does my system need to be?”
  • “How much will it cost?”

You can answer these questions in three basic steps:

1. Sizing Your System

To determine the size of system that you need, you only need to know how much energy you use during the course of a year. Your monthly NB Power Bill will show your usage (in kWh) similar to the photo below:

New Brunswick NP Power

You can calculate your annual energy by adding up the amount shown for 12 consecutive months. Don’t make the mistake of multiplying a single month by 12 – usage fluctuates greatly depending on the season.

You can calculate the size of the solar power system that you’ll need with the following equation:

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

(annual average ‘equivalent full sunlight hours’ in New Brunswick = 1,142h)

For example, let’s pretend that you added up your power bills and determined that you use 10,000kWh over the course of a year. You would then do the above calculation and determine that you need a 8.76kW solar panel system!

10,000kWh / 1,142h = 8.76kW

2. Physical Sizing

Now that you know the size of your system in units of kW, you can determine how much space the system will require by converting it to units of sqft.

The average solar panel is approximately 18sqft in size (including some buffer room for racking and spacing) and produces about 300watts of power.

The equation to calculate the space that your solar system require is again simple:

Physical space required = size of system needed (in kW) / size of panel (in kW) * physical size of panel (in sqft)

(average size of panel = 0.3kW, average physical panel size = 18sqft)

Let’s continue from the previous section and assume that you need a 8.76kW system. You would do the above calculation and determine that you need 526sqft of space to install your system!

8.76kW / 0.3kW * 18sqft = 526sqft

(note that 300watts equals 0.3kW)

If you’re putting solar panels on your roof, you should know that:

  • A south facing roof is best, east and west facing are good, but north is not great
  • You may need to replace your shingles (or entire roof) before installing – because panels are guaranteed for 25 years!

If you’re putting solar panels on the ground, you should know that:

  • These systems are more expensive upfront due to piling, mounting , and trenching requirements
  • They are more efficiency because they can be easily placed to the optimal direction (south), the optimal angle (~45°), and to avoid shading
  • Thus, these systems are more efficient and have better lifetime IRRs and NPVs.

Most residential homeowners in New Brunswick put solar panels on their roof. Rural property owners put systems on the roof of their house or shop – or on the ground in their yard.

3. System Costs

Cost of Solar Power Canada

The last piece of basic information that you’ll want to know is an approximation of how much your system will cost. To calculate this, you just need to know the size of the system in units of kW.

The rough calculation is simple. Just take the size of your system and multiply it by the $2.94/watt – the average cost of installing a solar system in New Brunswick.

You can calculate your total system costs with the following equation:

System cost = size of system needed x cost per installed watt

Continuing with our previous example, we can see that a 8.76kW system would cost approximately $25,754 to install.

= 8,760watts x $2.94/watt

= $25,754

Note that the exact price of the system depends on several factors including the system size, the quality of equipment used, and the complexity of the job.

Even the range in the chart above is just an average – installation prices can easily go as high as $3.50+/watt for premium equipment and high quality installers.


Overall Ranking

Canadian Solar Power Rankings

Every year, we score every province and territory in Canada on the relative feasibility of installing a solar power system. This year, New Brunswick scores #10, receiving a total score of 59/100.

The remainder of this guide explores each ranking factor individually, while also providing important information about installing solar in New Brunswick.

(if you want to learn how we score each factor, please visit our Provincial Solar Rankings page)


Solar Incentives

Solar Energy Incentives Canada

Major Program: Total Home Program

Savings: Up to $0.30/watt

New Brunswick scores in the middle of the pack when it comes to solar energy rebates and energy efficiency incentives. These factors are important because they reduce the upfront system costs. We’ve scored New Brunswick 2/20 for this section.

  • Per Watt. Rebates in the province are awarded based on the size of the system you install, in units of watts. Jump back up to the System Sizing section if you don’t understand what this means.
  • Application. Rebate applications, including all paperwork, should be handled entirely by your installation company.

Rebates & Tax Breaks

The Total Home Energy Savings Program (THESP) offered by Énergie NB Power is a comprehensive energy efficiency incentive program.

The solar portion of the program is a rebate that ranges from $0.20/watt to $0.30/watt, depending on the number of energy upgrades you perform.

Here is what the savings would look like for a 8.76kW system:

(8,760 watts) x ($0.30/watt) = $2,628

Thus, the cost of a 8.76kW system would decrease from $25,754 to $23,126. Go back to the Common Solar Questions section if you’re not sure where these numbers are coming from!

Businesses can now use the Federal Tax Provision for Clean Energy Equipment to fully expense their solar system. This means a CCA rate of 100% and the abolishment of the first year rule.

Other Clean Energy Incentives

There are at least 4 other energy incentive programs available in New Brunswick. While not considered in our solar rankings, many homeowners choose to leverage these (i.e., home energy efficiency incentives) around the same time they switch to solar.

Clean Energy Incentives Canada

Natural Factors

Solar Energy Production Potential Canada

Production Potential: 1142kWh per kW per year

New Brunswick is one of the best provinces in terms of the natural factors that influence the maximal amount of energy that a system can produce. We’ve scored New Brunswick 17/20 for this section.

Solar Irradiance

New Brunswick has the sixth-highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving more solar irradiation than most other provinces and territories!

According to data from Natural Resources Canada, the average solar system in New Brunswick can produce 1142kWh of electricity per kW of solar panels per year.

Here is how much an average solar system can produce each month, as well as the solar irradiance potential map for New Brunswick:

Monthly Solar Irradiation Data New Brunswick
Solar Energy Map New Brunswick

This yearly average decreases as you move north and west in the province and increases as you move south and east. For example, a 1kW solar system in:

  • Moncton would produce about 1,144 kWh/yr
  • Saint John would produce about 1,133 kWh/yr
  • Fredericton would produce about 1,147 kWh/yr
  • Dieppe would produce about 1,144 kWh/yr
  • Riverview would produce 1,141 kWh/yr

Recall that this is the number we used in the System Sizing section!

(maps and solar irradiance data for all other provinces and territories can be found on our Solar Maps page.)


Utility Policies

Utility & Solar Connection Policies Canada

Connection Policy: Net Metering

Rate Design: $0.13/kWh, Flat

New Brunswick scores on the lower end the provinces when it comes to utility-related factors.

Utility factors determine how much money your utility will pay you for the power you produce, along with how much money you will save on your power bill by reducing your usage. We’ve scored New Brunswick 23/30 for this section.

Interconnection Policy

Net Meter Bi-directional Meter

Net Metering is one of the most important policy mechanisms that makes solar a feasible energy generation option.

Net Metering essentially means that you earn credits for the excess energy that you produce, which can then be used at a later time. It’s common to produce excess energy during the day and summer but not enough at night and during the winter – so this policy is important!

Good net metering policy allows you to earn full credits for your excess energy which can be carried month-to-month. Bad net metering policy allows you to earn only partial credits for excess energy and credits can’t be carried forward month-to-month.

Énergie NB Power Net Metering Policies fall in the “good” category for net metering policies. It allows for systems up to 100kW in size to be connected to the grid and credits can be carried forward month-to-month.

However, it’s important to note that net-metering credits in NB expire annually in March. Thus, you’ll want to work closely with your installer to make sure your system perfectly matches your energy usage.

Solar Setup Fees

Énergie NB Power’s Distributed Generation Program Package indicates that NB homeowners must pay a $500 interconnection study fee when connecting a solar system to the grid for net metering. 

This is opposed to other places like Alberta and the Yukon Territory where such costs are covered by the utility.

Electricity Prices

Electricity Costs for Solar Canada

New Brunswick enjoys some of the lowest electricity prices in the country – but lower prices mean lower savings potential when you switch to solar.

Based on a monthly usage of 1,000kWh, the average total cost of electricity in New Brunswick is $0.127/kWh (this number includes both fixed and variable costs).

This number is higher than the Canadian average of $0.138/kWh (excluding the territories), meaning that property owners in New Brunswick have moderate savings potential!

(methodology and data on other provinces and territories can be found on our Electricity Prices page.)

Utility Bill Rate Design

Electricity Bill Rate Design

Good electricity rate design allows you to save money when you save energy. This might sound intuitive – but not all provinces are same. Superior designs have low fixed monthly fees and tiered electricity rates. Inferior designs have high fixed fees and flat electricity rates.

New Brunswick scores in the back of the pack when it comes to these factors – having flat rates and fixed monthly fees of $20.

For example, reducing your electricity bill from 1,500 to 750 kWh per month will save you 54% on your electricity bill in British Columbia, 48% in Nova Scotia, but only 45% in New Brunswick!

Note that fixed monthly fees don’t disappear even if you switch to solar – you’ll pay them as long as you remain connected to the grid. But this isn’t a bad thing – $20/mo is a small price to pay for using the grid as your back-up energy source!

(methodology on our Electricity Prices page.)

Average Fixed Costs Electricity Canada
Average Fixed Costs of Electricity in Canada

The only way to completely remove your fixed costs is to go off the grid, something most homeowners in New Brunswick don’t do because of high battery costs.

Disconnecting from the grid also means that you won’t be able to participate in your utility’s net metering program.


System Financing

Solar Energy Financing Canada

Upfront Cost: $2.94/watt

Financing: Energy Loan

New Brunswick scores in the middle when it comes to financial factors because of moderate up-front costs and some financing options. We’ve scored New Brunswick 17/30 for this section.

Cost of Installation

The upfront cost of installation is obviously one of the largest factors that determine whether or not a person is going to switch to solar. The current average price range in New Brunswick is about $2.65-$3.24/kW.

(not sure what this number means or how to use it? Jump back up to the Common Questions section.)

However, the price can easily be higher or lower depending on the size of the system, the complexity of the job, the type of equipment used, and even on the quality of your installation company.

In general, aiming for the cheapest price shouldn’t be your goal. Most solar panels are guaranteed to last for 25 years, so you want to make sure that your installation job is good enough to support that.

You’ll also want to be sure that the company you choose will be around in 5 to 10 years from now in case you need service or warranty work done. If you get a quote through us, we’ll connect you with a pre-vetted installer!

PACE Programs

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is an innovative financing option that allows you to cover the entire upfront cost of your solar system (or energy efficiency upgrades) with a $0 down, long amortization period, low interest ‘loan’.

However, unlike a typical loan, this loan is attached to your property (not you) and is paid back on your property tax bill as a Local Improvement Charge (LIC). The only eligibility is that you need to own a certain portion of your home.

Unfortunately, no PACE financing is currently available in New Brunswick.

Other Energy Financing

Obviously though, PACE is not the only way to finance a solar system. Systems can be financed by cash, bank loans, installer financing, home equity loans, a home equity line of credit, a mortgage (for new builds), or through energy loans.

Several options exist for New Brunswick homeowners:

  • NBTA Credit Union (energy loan)
    • As low as prime +1%
    • NBTA Credit Union contact number: 1-800-565-5626
  • RBC Energy Saver Loan (energy loan)
    • Up to 10 years amortization
    • RBC contact number: 1-800-769-2511

Solar Power New Brunswick

Because of New Brunswick’s small incentive programs and moderate installation prices – we rank it as being the #10 province in the country for switching to solar power.

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14 thoughts on “Solar Power New Brunswick (Complete Guide 2021)”

  1. There is no $500 fee for interconnecting a Net Metering system under NB Power. The only service charge is to change the meter at around $45.00.

    Reply
      • Thank you, we will update this information with your input. I checked our reference document for this number and it indeed was for the Embedded Generation Program, not the Net Metering program.

        Reply
  2. Supplemental to my post below:

    If you were to finance the required $55,925.00 system (below) over the 25 year period (after rebates and incentives), the interest alone using a 5% scale would be $42,211.13. Add that to your initial cost, and you are now paying $98,211.13, over the 25 year projected life of your system. Again, this does not factor in cost of snow removal, reduction of power production due to snow accumulation, repair costs associated with upgrades/replacement to roofing, solar panels, peripherals, or labor, and does not factor in increased interest rates. Also, within that 25 year period, you will have to completely replace your system, roof, and anything else that you started with 25 years prior, and do it all over again.

    So when is, and where is, my R.O.I.???

    Over the next 25 years … solar panels will more than likely reduce in size and/or produce 3x more output, and become more cost efficient as the overall footprint they leave on your property decreases. But, as of “today”, the solar panel requirement would be nothing short of an “Elephant standing on a thumbtack”, with respect to the “eye-soar” this system will have on my home and property. That being said, the “current” cost is -only- to produce what will be the energy requirement for my home, so uploading extra power to the grid is a mute point. I understand the need to go “Green” concept, and have no issues regarding this need. However, from strictly an economic analysis point of view (which -everyone- will factor into their thinking), How is “Going Solar”, even remotely cost effective??? In fact, it is the complete opposite.

    So, can anyone give me all the positives (+), which address (or nullify) all the negatives, and answer the cost prohibitive nature of Solar???
    I will keep an open mind on this, and I will be completely objective; if anyone can show me how the economics are positively addressed.

    Anyone???

    Reply
    • We live with a very small system (4 x 100 watt panels). As a family of four with two small kids, it’s more about reducing energy requirements (we don’t have a dryer or dishwasher, we have an on-demand propane water heater, and we heat with mainly wood.) You don’t *need* a 55k$ system to be comfortable. Our system cost 10k$ and that was 15yrs ago. We could get way more for that now. You can also start small and add on over time (as we plan to do.)

      Reply
      • (Per Notes below) … Ok … I have done all the LED lights, Insulation, EnerGuide Appliances, and Eco-Energy Home Assessment (we are in the top 10% of energy efficient homes). But, even so … what I am hearing is that unless you curb your energy use … i.e. get rid of T.V.s, or appliances etc., ….. just by changing to Solar won’t be Economical in itself … That was the math, I was interested in. 🙂

        Reply
        • Exactly. Some people just sub out conventional power for solar, but it’s cost prohibitive. We went in with solar in mind from the start (we’re off-grid.) There are solar appliances (fridge for example) that use DC power and are less costly (on energy) to run. We didn’t throw out the tv, we just are more mindful as to when we turn it on and listen to more radio and podcasts. It depends on what lifestyle you want tohave. You also don’t have to go completely solar. Even offsetting just some energy with solar has its value.

          Kudos on making your home as energy efficient as possible! We need more people like you.

          Reply
    • Hi again Tim, you can see our comment on your post below with regards to the system costs. With regard to financing costs, you are correct in that it would add additional costs that may break the economic equation. Our recommendation would be similar to what S.M. suggested in that choosing a system size that is cheaper to finance may be the best way to start off.

      Reply
  3. OK ….. So, doing the math on a 100% Electricity (NB Power supplied) home, my kWh/yr requirement (based on 3yr avg from 2016 to 2019) is 21,500 kWh / 1,142 (avg Sunlight hrs in NB), requiring a 18.83 kW whole home solar system. This is Only based on Required Electricity, and does not factor an air tight wood fireplace on the main level. We have a large (area) 9/12 pitch roof, facing W.S.W. Based on the avg installation cost of $3.27/watt, it would cost approximately $61,575.00 (before any incentives/rebates). T.H.E.S.P. rebate (offered by NB Power) in Moncton, New Brunswick @ $0.30/watt avg would be $5,650. This would net an overall average cost of $55,925.00, for our multi-level, 3000sq/ft energy efficient home. An avg household in Moncton uses 79GJ/yr, and we have been energy assessed by EnerGuide as an efficient user (based on the sq/ft size of our home) at a score of 80 ….. (lower scores are better, with an avg new home construction scoring 152). In Moncton, a 1kW system will produce 1,144 kWh/yr vs. 1,142 (avg Sunlight Hrs in NB). Our required system would produce 21,504 kWh/yr, or very close to the avg NB household requirement, using 79 GJ/yr. Quality solar systems are warranted for 25 years, and would require you to have at least a shingled roof, to last that amount of time (additional cost). Most people are used to a “Buy Back Time” of 5 years (or less) on investments. SO ….. after all this time, factoring costs, financing interest, and probable equipment/roof replacement after 25 years ….. the Overall Basic Cost (Not including financing, interest, repairs, snow removal, or other unknown variables) for MY requirement, would average $2,237.00 per year, for the next 25+ years. As of right now, MY power consumption averages $2,875.00 per year (equalized at $240.00 per month). Over the 25+ year proposed period for MY solar project, my overall “Realized Power Savings” would average $638.00 per/year. The “Buy Back Time”, or R.O.I. (return on investment), would simply -NOT- be there, when you factor in your financing interest over this 25+ year period.
    SO, I ASK ….. “WHERE IS MY INCENTIVE TO GO SOLAR”??? As of Today ….. There is None!!! I realize power rates keep going up and up … BUT ….
    Based on my diagnostics, Solar is “Cost Prohibitive” for Me, at this time. So, what are your thoughts? Thanks Much!!! Tim 🙂

    Reply
    • Tim, if I could jump in. I think the one factor you have missed is further reduction of KWh through more efficient energy use. My 2000 sf home, heated primarily with wood and passive solar, costs me a mere $1.10 per day in useage costs plus Hst, so, approx $1.25 per day. It used to cost me $250 per month ( now approx $40).
      How did I reach this goal? LED lights in every fixture. The only yard lights are motion activated solar powered. My house is well insulated and was constructed originally off grid in the 1970’s with power utility connected in the late ‘80’s. I got rid of my large screen TVs, charge small devices off independent solar panels, I am careful in the use of hot water and other energy hogs.
      Based on my 10 Kwhs used per day, average, a more reasonably priced solar system would keep the payback short and interest costs even more reasonable . I should note that I am still grid tied and have no solar panels connected to my home ( other than the little ones that charge my o/s lights.
      Long story short, going solar involves lifestyle changes … or… a truckload of money. I prefer my method- to each his own.

      Reply
      • Ok … I have done all the LED lights, Insulation, EnerGuide Appliances, and Eco-Energy Home Assessment (we are in the top 10% of energy efficient homes). But, even so … what I am hearing is that unless you curb your energy use … i.e. get rid of T.V.s, or appliances etc., ….. just by changing to Solar won’t be Economical in itself … That was the math, I was interested in. 🙂

        Reply
        • Hi Tim, thank you for posting all of your information – it was very easy to follow along. Some additional things to consider – the price of electricity may rise over the 25 year period (providing additional cost savings). The $3.27/Watt is quoted for a 7.5kW system. As yours would be required to be 18.83kW, the price would be considerably less, maybe around $2.50-$2.70/Watt. The energy production values are also highly system and site specific, and thus your system may produce more (or less) than 1,142kWh/kW/yr – getting your system modelled would give you a more accurate number.

          Reply
    • Just trying to figure out WHy it costs so much! The panels today are not ridiculous so is it the installer making $1000 an hour?

      Reply

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