The Cities of London, Ontario and Fredericton, New Brunswick, have partnered with MyHEAT to launch residential solar potential maps.
MyHEAT is a Canadian company that provides Heat Loss and Solar mapping solutions. The company’s solar mapping capability is possible through a partnership with Google.
The maps help users quickly identify their home’s solar potential and receive personalized rooftop financial and environmental projections. The rationale for cities using this tool is the hope of helping residents decide whether to invest in solar panels. The maps also equip users with the information they need to make the right choice.
Communities adopting residential solar is pivotal for Canada to meet its climate goals.
“London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan identifies single-family housing as the city’s second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Renovating existing homes with energy-saving and zero-emission improvements like solar panels is a priority included in London’s plan,” said Jay Stanford, Director, Climate Change, Environment, and Waste Management at the City of London.
The outlook for some cities is especially sunny.
The City of Fredericton seeks to reduce community GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and has identified that “homes and buildings are responsible for 56 percent of GHG emissions”. It suggests that moving to “local renewable energy options” is a sensible way to reduce community emissions and that “with 294 days of sun per year, Fredericton has higher solar energy potential than Halifax, Vancouver, London, and Berlin.”
The City of London Solar Map has officially launched. If all 111,000 suitable rooftops in the City installed solar, an additional 1.8MW of electricity could be generated, avoiding 295,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
After the user provides basic information about their property, MyHEAT uses 3D rooftop imagery to understand rooftop size and exposure to the sun, as well as day-to-day analysis of weather patterns, to produce a personalized solar potential estimate for every home.
Users of the map are prompted to provide their estimated monthly electricity usage, which provides a recommended system size. The tool can also inform users of the maximum install size possible for their roof based on the available rooftop area.
Can grids catch up in time?
It’s important to note that not all homes are suitable for rooftop solar. In the City of London, residents must first request London Hydro to check their eligibility. Parts of the London Hydro grid currently need additional capacity to accommodate more electrons generated by residential solar. In addition, some homes may be too shaded by overhanging trees (which the map will show).
Homes with aging roofs may benefit from replacing the roof before installing solar, as a solar array has an expected lifespan of ~25 years.
Today, Canadians may be eligible for up to $5,000 in rebates to reduce the cost of going solar through the federal government’s Greener Homes Grant. This tool lets users see financial projections, including the maximum $5,000 grant, to understand their payback period and total savings better if eligible.
The company claims information provided can also help protect residents from solar scams. That by knowing the facts, homeowners may be more skeptical of sales pitches offering them massive returns and the promise of large chunks of their deposit being returned to them through grants.
This article was developed using source material provided by James Henry, Director of Growth & Sustainability at MyHEAT.