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Sunny Days Ahead: Solar Energy in Saskatchewan

Use the residential solar map to find out if solar might work for you: Saskatoon.ca/SolarMap  (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon) Use the residential solar map to find out if solar might work for you: Saskatoon.ca/SolarMap (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon)

The City of Saskatoon’s solar map has residents exploring a different way to power their homes: using the sun.

Launched in March of 2023, the residential solar map gives insight into each home’s usable sunlight and how much space would be available for solar panels.

Additionally, the map provides information on incentive programs available for homeowners looking to make the switch to solar energy.

The financial support in place to help with the upfront price of switching to solar power was appreciated by many, including Kris Kluz who started his installment plan in 2022.

Cost was one of the largest motivations behind Kluz switching to solar and reducing his monthly electricity bill was the goal. He acknowledges that for now, his bill has stayed about the same, but when the panels are paid off, he sees it as free energy.

“It’s a nice way to mitigate and keep my costs down,” he says, adding that the byproduct of all of this is reducing his carbon footprint.

Kent Mohn has been looking into going solar for many years and has been researching and speaking to peers and professionals about making the switch.

“What got us to take the plunge was we looked at what we have: we have two young kids and we’re looking at what possibilities are when they get older.

We really want to be able to tell them we tried something, that we were making an effort in our house to reduce greenhouse gas and try to be a little bit more conscientious about energy efficiency,” Mohn says.

The environmental benefits of solar were the motivating factor for Mohn and his family and cost came secondary to that.

“We went into this with our eyes open that we’re not suddenly going to be saving thousands of dollars…but it’s nice to think that there may be some financial benefit down the road,” he adds.

Mohn says that having solar energy also has him and his family thinking about and monitoring their energy usage.

Using an app, Mohn shows his curious five-year-old son how much electricity they’re making, and how much it takes to power up the TV, coffee machine, and some of his favourite toys.

Eric Micheels had his solar energy panels installed in 2023 and turned to the Home Energy Loan Program for assistance financing the switch to solar.

Use the residential solar map to find out if solar might work for you: Saskatoon.ca/SolarMap

Once the instalment was complete, he sent over the invoices to the City and began the repayment process. Combined with a federal grant, Micheels says it seemed like a good financial decision.

“We receive an email from the City each month that shows how much power we have generated and how much was sent back into the grid. With the energy that we are creating and sending back to the grid, we are happy with the choice we made,” he adds.

Google’s Project Sunroof suggests that Saskatoon is one of the best places in Canada for solar power, with over 60,000 rooftops suitable for solar.

Saskatoon Light & Power saw 46 installments commissioned in 2022 and that number jumped to 59 installments commissioned by 2023.

According to Sask Power, about 3,500 homes and businesses in Saskatchewan use solar power as an extra supply source. Kent Mohn would like to see that number go up.

“It would be nice for Saskatchewan to be known as a residential energy producer… We’ve got the sunlight, we’ve got the availability of resources, so it seems like it should be an easy transition for us,” he added.

Eric Micheels has been noticing quite a few solar panels while driving around Saskatoon.

“Each household can decide if it’s a good option for them…it worked for us.”

Use the residential Solar Map to explore if solar might work for you: visit Saskatoon.ca/SolarMap

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