Up to $5,000
Perform air sealing to improve the airtightness of your home to achieve the air-change rate target.
Up to $1,000
Windows and doors
Replace your doors, windows or sliding glass doors with ENERGY STAR® certified models.
Up to $5,000
Add a smart thermostat to help improve your comfort and save money on your energy bill (must be combined with another energy efficiency retrofit).
Up to $50
Space and water heating
Make the switch to more energy-efficient space heating or water heating equipment to save on your utility bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Up to $5,000
Renewable energy
Install a solar photovoltaic system to convert sunlight energy into electricity.
Up to $5,000
Resiliency measures
Implement measures to protect your home and family from environmental damages (must be combined with another energy efficiency retrofit).
Up to $2,625
Low rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs)
Learn more about how to multiply your incentives if you live in a multi-unit residential building.


Natural Resources Canada does not endorse the services of any contractor, nor any specific product, and accepts no liability in the selection of materials, products, contractors or performance of workmanship. Before undertaking upgrades or renovations, find out about the appropriate products, safety and installation techniques to ensure that your home’s building envelope and indoor air quality will not be compromised, and ensure that all renovations meet local building and electrical codes and by-laws.


The Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative allows homeowners to increase their home insulation. This slows the rate of heat loss, resulting in improved energy use and can help save money. The insulation’s resistance to heat flow is measured using both an R-value and an RSI value. R-value is the imperial measurement and the Résistance Système International (RSI) value is the metric measurement. The higher the resistance value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the insulating material. Recommendations on insulation improvements and the calculation of your incentive will use these values. Read more about insulation materials.

All products and equipment must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada.

Insulate your roof assemblies (attic/cathedral ceiling/flat roof)

Exterior wall insulation

Exposed Floor

Basement Insulation

Crawl space

Air sealing

Making improvements to reduce the draftiness of your home is the single most important retrofit you can make to improve energy efficiency and it should be considered first in any retrofit strategy. Your Renovation Upgrade Report will provide you with a target to improve the airtightness of your home. Typically, the airtightness levels listed in the following table would be achieved with the assistance of an air-sealing professional.

Options:Grant amount
Meet the target in your Renovation Upgrade Report$550
Obtain a larger grant:
If you reach 10% better than the target in your report (i.e. 0.9 x target valueFootnote1)$810
If you reach 20% better than the target in your report (i.e. 0.8 x target valueFootnote1)$1,000

Note: In some instances, performing air sealing may result in inadequate ventilation, which may be detrimental to the house and its occupants. Please seek additional information from your energy advisor and a qualified ventilation contractor.

Air-sealing – Table Footnotes

Footnote 1

Your Renovation Upgrade Report will provide more details regarding the target value.

Return to footnote1referrer

Windows and doors

There are a number of options for upgrading the energy efficiency of your windows and doors. A total window and frame replacement with new, high-performance ENERGY STAR® certified windows can make your home more comfortable, save energy, and help fight climate change. Learn more about replacing your windows and doors.

Eligibility criteria for a grant:

  • All equipment must be purchased in Canada.
  • Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada.
  • The equipment must be on one of the eligible product lists referenced in the following table. All eligible product lists are available in an online searchable format.
  • Keep the ENERGY STAR labels on your windows and doors until after your post-retrofit evaluation.


  • A complete new window or door and frame replacement can be inserted into the existing frame of an old window or door, but replacements of only the glass sash or door without a frame are not eligible.
  • Each rough opening is eligible for a grant of up to $250, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Options:Grant amount
per rough openingFootnote2
Replace your windows or sliding glass doors with ENERGY STARFootnote3 certified models:ENERGY STAR technical specificationsYour selection must be on one the following lists: windows or sliding glass doors$125
Replace your windows or sliding glass doors with ENERGY STAR Most Efficient models:ENERGY STAR technical specificationsYour selection must be on one the following lists: windows or sliding glass doors$250
Replace hinged doors, with or without sidelites or transoms with ENERGY STAR certified models:ENERGY STAR technical specificationsYour selection must be on the following list: hinged doors, sidelites and transoms$125

Windows and doors – Table Footnotes

Footnote 2

A rough opening is defined as a structurally stable opening in an outside wall. The opening may be surrounded by framing members (e.g., studs, lintels) or by solid material (e.g., concrete, solid wood logs). A rough opening serves the purpose of installing one or more windows or doors. The Canada Greener Homes grant initiative incentive is offered per rough opening, as opposed to per number of windows or doors installed within the opening.  For example, a bay window with three window units installed into one rough opening is eligible for only one grant. Skylights are not eligible.

Return to footnote2referrerFootnote 3

ENERGY STAR certified means that the model meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR levels. Each certified model comes with a temporary label showing that the unit is ENERGY STAR certified.

Return to footnote3referrer


Smart or programmable thermostats help improve your comfort, help you save money on your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint. Choosing a smart or programmable thermostat allows you to schedule temperatures to automatically adjust to energy-saving time frames.

Eligibility criteria for a grant:

  • Must be combined with an energy efficiency retrofit measure from the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative.
    Exclusions: New heat pumps are installed with new thermostats and cannot be combined with this measure.
  • A resiliency measure and a thermostat must be combined with another energy efficiency measure in order to qualify for the grants.
  • All equipment must be purchased in Canada.
  • Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada.
Option:Grant amount
Replace a manual thermostat by a programmable or smart/adaptive thermostat$50

Space and water heating

Furnaces and boilers are not eligible under the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative, except for homeowners living in northern and off-grid communities.

Canada’s cold climate means that space heating accounts for over 60% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. Make the switch to more energy-efficient heating equipment such as a heat pump to save energy and possibly reduce your utility bills and carbon footprint. Keep in mind that the cost of energy to operate a product over its lifetime is just as important as its purchase price. Learn more about energy-efficient heating equipment.

What are heat pumps?

A heat pump is a device that is using the energy in the environment, such as air or ground, and transfers it to be used for heating or cooling purposes. Thermal energy naturally flows from places with higher temperature to locations with lower temperatures (e.g., in the winter, heat from inside the building is lost to the outside and in the summer heat from the outside flows into the interior of the building). A heat pump uses additional electrical energy to counter the natural flow of heat, and, in heating mode, pumps the energy available from a colder place to a warmer one. Since a heat pump transfers thermal energy (vs. a gas furnace or an electrical baseboard, which convert other sources of energy to thermal energy), it offers a higher energy efficiency, potentially saving on energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint. Learn more about heat pumps

Why install a heat pump?

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Many homes in moderate climates can rely on air source heat pumps for heating or cooling year-round. More recently, a new generation of air-source heat pump, often called cold-climate heat pump, has been introduced to improve performance of these systems in the colder temperatures of Canadian winters. This improved performance vs. conventional air-source heat pumps reduces the need for auxiliary heating sources. Ground source heat pumps are effective in all climates.

A mechanical system contractor or energy advisor can help with estimating the economics of purchasing and operating a heat pump in your area and the potential savings you can achieve. Heat pumps can come at a higher purchase cost compared to other heating systems due to the number of components in the system. In some regions and situations, this added cost can be recouped in a relatively short period through energy cost savings. However, in other regions, varying utility rates can extend this period. Speak with your energy advisor to see if a heat pump is right for you.Disclaimer

Your new heat pump must be installed by a licensed and trained professional and be on one of the eligible product lists below in order to be eligible for a grant. All eligible product lists are available in an online searchable format. The lists will be periodically updated to ensure homeowners have access to rebates for all equipment models available that meet the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative performance criteria.

All equipment must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada

Ground source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps and cold climate air source heat pumps

Heat pump water heaters

Renewable energy systems

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished at a rate that is equal to or faster than the rate at which it is consumed, such as solar energy. Learn more about solar panels for homes.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative offers a grant for installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system (including panels and an inverter) that converts sunlight directly into electricity.

If you want to purchase batteries for storing the solar energy from your PV system, a portion of the cost may be eligible for climate resiliency grants.

Eligibility criteria for a solar photovoltaic system grant:

  • All equipment must be purchased in Canada.
  • Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada.
  • The system must be comprised of one or more PV panels and inverter(s) (if required) certified to CSA Standards.
  • The total system peak power capacity must be equal to or greater than 1.0 kW DC.
  • For a grid connected* system, a copy of the letter of approval or permission for interconnection issued by the local electrical or building authority is required.

Additional Information:

  • There are no national nor provincial/territorial certifications for PV system designers/installers. You may retain a contractor or design and install the system yourself. If you decide to implement your own retrofits, note that personal labour costs are not eligible for a grant.
  • A PV system is eligible for a grant if it is a first-time installation or if it is an addition to an existing system.
  • A PV system is eligible for a grant regardless of whether or not the house is connected to the grid.
  • Ensure that the PV system is designed and installed in accordance with local building and electrical requirements.
  • It is recommended that you have a qualified PV professional assess your home and identify it as “Solar Ready” before your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation.
  • Solar panels can be mounted on the house or ground, as long as they are on the property / land of the house associated with your application.
  • For roof-top installations it is recommended that both grid-connected systems and off-grid systems**, be done in accordance with SPE-900-13 Solar photovoltaic rooftop-installation best practices guideline developed by CSA.
  • Building permits may be required for both off-grid and grid-connected system installations.

* Grid-connected system: the solar photovoltaic system is connected such that it can deliver power to a supply authority system.

**Off-grid system: the solar photovoltaic system delivers power solely to the home; it does not deliver power to a supply authority system.

Option:Grant amount
Install solar panels (photovoltaic system) with a capacity equal to or greater than 1.0 kW DC$1,000 per kW

Note: The grant amount is pro-rated based on the added capacity to the house; for example, if you are adding 3.5 kW PV capacity to your home, you are eligible for a $3,500 grant.

Resiliency measures

Climate change and its effects often hit close to home. Many environmental factors related to climate change can have an impact on your home, causing fire, flooding, wind and loss of power. Your home and its location can help you identify your specific vulnerabilities to climate change.

If you are in the process of making upgrades to your home, consider additional retrofits that could help protect your home and your family from environmental damages at the same time.

The resiliency measures detailed below must be combined with an energy efficiency retrofit from the Canadian Greener Homes Grant initiative.

  • Batteries connected to photovoltaic (PV) systems
  • Roofing Membrane – Self-adhering roofing underlayment applied to entire roof
  • Basement Wall Waterproofing
  • Moisture Proofing Crawl Space Floor, Walls and Headers

Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs)

A low-rise MURB is defined based on Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada as having three or fewer storeys in building height above ground and having a building area not exceeding 600 m2. MURBs must either be stacked (up/down) or have a common area. Side-by-side attached units/houses are considered row houses and are not MURBs.

Two-unit MURBs, including houses with secondary suites, are entitled to all the same grants as attached and detached houses (e.g. eligible for heat pumps and heat pump water heaters).

Retirement homes are not eligible. MURBs over three storeys above ground or over 600 m2 in building area are not eligible.

MURBs are eligible for grants for the following retrofits:

  • Insulation
  • Air sealing
  • Windows and doors
  • Renewable energy
  • Resiliency measures

MURBs (excluding two-unit MURBs and houses with secondary suites) are not eligible for grants related to the following:

  • Heat pumps and heat pump water heaters
  • Thermostats
  • Furnaces and boilers (in northern and off-grid communities)

View the full definition, eligibility requirements, and details on eligible retrofits here.

Solar Power British Columbia (2021 Guide)

Congratulations! You’ve found the ultimate guide for installing solar power in British Columbia!

Published by Rylan Urban on Feb 15, 2018. Last updated May 1, 2021.

Canadian Solar Power Rankings

British Columbia is currently ranked the #6 province in the country for installing a solar power system, scoring as one of the best provinces for installation costs and utility-related factors.

This page contains all relevant information about installing solar in BC 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. System Sizing
2. Physical Sizing
3. System Costs

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 BC Hydro Bill will show your usage (in kWh) similar to the photo below:

BC Hydro Electricity Bill

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 British Columbia = 1,004h)

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 9.96kW solar panel system!

10,000kWh / 1,004h = 9.96kW

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 9.96kW system. You would do the above calculation and determine that you need 598sqft of space to install your system!

9.96kW / 0.3kW * 18sqft = 598sqft

(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 British Columbia 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 $2.56/watt – the average cost of installing a solar system in British Columbia.

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 9.96kW system would cost approximately $25,498 to install.

= 9,960watts x $2.56watt

= $25,498

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 $3.00+/watt for premium equipment and high quality installers.

Ready to get started? Then get a free personalized cost estimate:

Get a cost estimate

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, British Columbia scores #6, receiving a total score of 62/100.

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

(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: PST Exemption

Savings: Varies

British Columbia is only province that has a provincial tax exemption for clean energy equipment. However, there are no large provincial solar incentives currently in place.

These factors are important because they reduce the upfront system costs. We’ve scored British Columbia 4/20 for this section.

Rebates & Tax Breaks

Although BC does not currently have any solar rebates at the provincial level, it is the only province with a PST exemption for solar power.

The Alternative Energy Sources PST Exemption also covers solar thermal, as well as any necessary equipment needed for installation including wiring, controllers, inverters, pumps, and tubing.

Here is what the savings would look like for a 9.96kW system:

$25,498 x 7% PST = $1,785

Thus, the on the cost of a 9.96kW system, you would just need to pay approximately $25,498 and avoid $1,785 in PST. Go back to the Common Solar Questions section if you’re not sure where these numbers are coming from!

There are also a regional solar incentive available for Nanaimo & Lantzville:

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 15 other energy incentive programs available in British Columbia. 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: 1004kWh per kW per year

British Columbia is one of the worst provinces in terms of the natural factors that influence the maximal amount of energy that a system can produce. We’ve scored British Columbia 15/20 for this section.

Solar Irradiance

British Columbia has the 11th highest potential to produce solar energy in all of Canada, receiving less solar irradiation than most other provinces and territories except for the Yukon Territories and Newfoundland and Labrador.

According to data from Natural Resources Canada, the average solar system in British Columbia can produce 1004kWh 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 British Columbia:

Monthly Solar Irradiation Data British Columbia
Solar Energy Map British Columbia

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:

  • Vancouver would produce about 1,007 kWh/yr
  • Surrey would produce about 996 kWh/yr
  • Burnaby would produce about 991 kWh/yr
  • Richmond would produce about 1,027 kWh/yr
  • Abbotsford would produce 996 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, Tiered

British Columbia scores in front of most 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 British Columbia 25/30 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.

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

BC’s 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 BC expire annually on your system’s anniversary date. Thus, you’ll want to work closely with your installer to make sure your system perfectly matches your energy usage.

Solar Setup Fees

BC’s current policies also ensure that you don’t need to pay for an interconnection study or a bi-directional meter when you switch to solar power.

This is opposed to many provinces like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia where interconnection and bi-directional meter fees exceed $500!

Electricity Prices

Electricity Costs for Solar Canada

British Columbia 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 British Columbia is $0.126/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 British Columbia 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.

British Columbia scores in the front of the pack when it comes to these factors – having tiered rates and fixed monthly fees of $12.

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, 45% in Saskatchewan, but only 41% in Alberta!

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 – $12/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 British Columbia 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: $2.56/watt

Financing: Energy Loan

British Columbia scores in the middle when it comes to financial factors because of low up-front costs and incoming PACE financing options. We’ve scored British Columbia 18/30 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 British Columbia is about $2.54-$2.69/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.

BC does not have any PACE programs for solar, but two similar programs exist for energy efficiency upgrades:

The first is the City of Nelson’s On-Bill Financing Program which allows homeowners to borrow up to $16,000 for home energy upgrades and pay it back through their Nelson Hydro electric bill. Loans are approved based purely on payment history and property verification – no personal income or credit information is needed!

The second program is the Penticton Home Energy Loan Program which grants loans up to $10,000 to be paid back through your Penticton Electric Utility bill. However, this is not a true PACE program as the loan is dependent on your personal credit history.

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 mortgages (for new builds), or through energy loans.

Several options exists for BC homeowners:

Solar Power British Columbia

Because of British Columbia’s PST exemption on solar panels and low installation costs – we rank BC as being the #6 best province in the country for switching to solar power.

Ready to get started? Then get a free personalized cost estimate:

Learn about using solar energy in B.C.

Solar energy is an alternative energy that can be used to help power your home or business.

If you’re starting to think about installing a solar generation system, get to know the important considerations around the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in B.C.

Costs of installing solar panels

The cost of installing a solar PV system for electricity generation has dropped dramatically in recent years. Technology has continually improved, and today’s more efficient systems yield a higher power output.

Previously, it would take homeowners at least 20 years to recoup the investment through the electrical load offset at today’s average electricity rates. Today, at an average of $2.50 per watt, the typical payback period for a homeowner in Victoria is about 17 years.

Incentives for solar power systems in B.C.

To help shorten the payback, there are solar incentives up to $5,000 available through the Greener Homes Grant from Natural Resources Canada. The same program also offers interest-free loans up to $40,000 for major for home efficiency projects, including solar power systems.

Overview of solar PV systems

Solar PV systems are comprised mainly of solar panels, inverters, breakers and mounting equipment. A solar panel generates power by converting sunlight to direct current electricity.

Inverters are then used to convert the direct current electricity into alternating current electricity to be used in your home.

How much power will a solar PV system generate in B.C.?

A typical solar PV installation on a residential roof is seven kilowatts (kW) in size with 16 solar panels, which in B.C., generates 7,700 kWh of electricity over a year.

The average household uses approximately 10,000 kWh per year, though this varies significantly based on a home’s heating type, size and other factors. Log in to MyHydro to understand your home’s usage to see how a solar installation would support your electricity needs.

And long term, consider an industry average solar panel lifespan of about 25 years and an efficiency degradation rate of about 0.5% per year.

Types of solar PV systems

Grid-tied systems

Grid-tied solar systems feed alternating current electricity directly to the local grid.

  • In B.C., a 1kW solar PV array would require about seven to eight square metres of south facing free space. A professional systems installer can help you estimate the solar potential of your home.
  • Before installing a solar system on your home’s roof, consider your roof’s current condition and if rework is needed anytime in the near future.
  • Installing a solar PV system can be complicated, especially for roof-mounted systems. Solar panels are essentially made of glass and need to be handled with care. Mounting solar panels on your roof should be done by a roof system professional to ensure that no damage is done to the building’s existing weather proofing.
  • Connecting a solar PV system to the grid requires complex electrical connections which need to be approved by BC Hydro. Hiring a professional solar PV system installer will help ensure that all necessary permits are obtained and that all safety measures are in place before the system is energized. 

Off-grid systems

Off-grid solar systems store direct current electricity in batteries for later use. In B.C. they’re used in remote locations where there’s no grid to tie into for power.

  • Off-grid systems are more expensive due to the added costs of the battery banks and charge controllers.
  • Battery banks are one of the highest lifecycle costs of an off-grid solar PV system as they require regular maintenance and/or replacement to ensure optimum system performance and longevity.
  • Depending on the type used, batteries have a lifespan of up to 10 years. Speak with a professional to understand battery options for your specific application.
  • Off-grid systems need to be sized appropriately to ensure that the battery banks are being used at maximum capacity throughout the year.
  • Consider hybrid solar PV/diesel generator systems for remote locations to ensure an adequately sized solar PV system and reliable power even during long periods of cloudy weather conditions. 

Connecting to BC Hydro’s grid with net metering

Any grid-tied solar systems must be approved by BC Hydro before installation to ensure safety and effective operation.

If you’re interested in connecting a small (less than 100 kW) electricity generation system to our grid, learn more about net metering options for residential and commercial customers.

For systems larger than 100 kW, learn about distribution generator interconnections.

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Government grant available!

Government grant available!

Receive up to $5,000 from the Canadian federal government for going solar + an interest free loan! Click here to Apply 

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