The Solar Energy Transition Across Canada

On December 7-8, I was able to represent SolarShare at Solar Canada, Canada’s biggest solar show.

The major take away for me was that a shift is occurring in the solar energy industry in Canada. Currently, the vast majority (99%) of utility connected solar energy in Canada is in Ontario. But, there was a lot of excitement at the expo around the opportunities for other provinces to catch up to Ontario’s success.

The future of solar in Canada will be shaped by the experiences in Ontario, which has blazed a trail for the rest of the country. According to CanSIA, “solar energy is both ubiquitous and abundant in each and every Canadian community and solar energy enjoys more public support than any other source of energy.”

Investment in solar presents a major opportunity for a clean energy future in Canada. As part of their platform, the Liberal federal government plans to provide funding allocations for clean technology producers, more support to developing clean tech manufacturing companies, and investments in innovation and clean technology use in natural resource sectors. Among the provinces, the Alberta government has committed to transition to 30% renewable energy by 2030, the Saskatchewan government has committed to 50% renewable power by 2030, and Manitoba recently joined Quebec and Ontario in a cap and trade system agreement. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are all hot-spots with great potential for solar energy according to Natural Resources Canada, so it is encouraging to see them making commitments towards a clean energy future.

With the wrap up of COP21, as part of the Paris Agreement, Canada has committed to keeping the rise in global temperatures below two degrees, and to an aspirational goal to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees. With a pending agreement between the federal government and the provinces post-Paris, it is more important than ever that Canada keeps the momentum going in the transition to a clean energy future.

We can look forward to seeing solar and other forms of renewable energy play a larger role in the Canadian energy mix going forward. If you would like to be a part of this transition, be a solar and renewable energy advocate in your community and remind our governments why this transition is so important for Canada.

Header image source: Dr Prem Green Living Guide
Solar Canada image source: CanSIA, Solar Beat

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