There’s no shortage of sunlight in Manitoba in the summertime. It has the potential to give us abundant, clean energy while cutting dependence on non-renewable energy. The problem is harnessing this energy efficiently and economically.
Most solar electrical systems convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity using photovoltaic cells. The energy is stored by charging batteries. To power common appliances, DC must be converted to alternating current (AC) using an inverter.
The key disadvantages of solar electrical systems are
- solar electrical power equipment is expensive compared to standard-grid electricity
- Manitoba’s highest energy requirements occur in winter when we have the least sunlight hours
Despite the disadvantages though, the solar industry in Manitoba was kickstarted with Manitoba Hydro’s Solar Energy Pilot Project. The program ran from 2016 to April 30, 2018, and provided a 25% rebate for the cost of installing solar panels for home and farm owners (1). Of the 1000+ applications submitted, Manitoba Hydro approved 790 projects ranging in size and location, with 80% of the projects in rural areas.
There are currently no other programs established in Manitoba, although industry members are optimistic that solar projects will continue to develop (1).