Many regions in Canada, particularly the Prairies and other regions away from the typically cloudy coastlines, have the potential to generate vast amounts of power from the Sun.
As such, solar energy, along with other renewable resources, are expected to play a growing role in powering homes and buildings across the country in the coming years.
Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which was announced in March 2022, further aims to cut emissions by up to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and states that the federal government will spend an $850 million on renewable energy projects.
While public infrastructure will take a number of decades to make the sustainable transition, many residents are currently opting to install solar panels on their homes for a number of reasons.
Workers moving solar modules while installing solar panels on a residential roof. (powerofforever/ E+/ Getty Images)
In addition to leading more environmentally-friendly lives by reducing their carbon emissions, some Canadians say that the cost-savings are the biggest appeal.
“I was really starting to think about retirement planning. It's still 15 to 20 years away, but I was trying to reduce my costs during retirement and electricity is certainly a big cost,” Chris Gynin from Keswick, Ontario told The Weather Network.
“Some incentives can help and Canada is offering a large incentive, you can get up to $5,600 back on what's called the Canada Greener Homes grant off of your solar,” Dan Hunter, Chief Energy Officer of Solr Solvr, told The Weather Network.
“But there are other considerations, and one is the appreciation that you're doing to your home value. There is evidence that it can be as high as 4 per cent. That may literally pay for your system, or a large portion of it. So that's a real benefit to keep in mind that you are adding value.”
Zillow Economic Research also indicates that homes in the United States see similar increases in value. Data collected from 2018-2019 revealed that homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1 per cent more on average than comparable homes without solar power, which translates to an additional $9,274 for a median-valued home. In the greater New York City metro, homes with solar panels had a premium of 5.4 per cent, which is an extra $23,989 in value.
Hunter explained that Solr Solvr is an online solar marketplace that helps users learn more about solar panel options for their property with an ultimate goal of reducing Canada’s carbon footprint.
“Our mission is really to accelerate solarization in Canada. We want to expedite each transaction, but we want to make sure that it's getting higher adoption — what's coming around the corner is a huge trend towards electrification in Canada.”
Despite signs pointing to solar energy soon becoming a major trend across Canada, a considerable number of prospective buyers have concerns.
“I think due to people's lack of familiarity with solar-powered homes, many find it undesirable because it is something new to learn, when the easier route is to go with what you know,” Britany Meeussen, real estate salesperson for RE/MAX in Ontario’s Durham-Peterborough region, said in an interview with The Weather Network.
“As a buyer, it is common to take into consideration maintenance costs. Solar panels require being free from obstructions, such as snow.”
Meeussen noted one of her previous listings had solar panels and the company that installed the panels paid the home owners monthly to rent out the space on the home’s roof. Yet many clients found this option undesirable. “They essentially made rental income without having tenants, but every client had concerns.”
Meeussen noted that this home was located in a “very strong retirement community” and that demographics are connected to how solar–powered homes are perceived.
“However, I think it is definitely up and coming and something Millennials are more comfortable looking into. But with the majority of buyers in Ontario still being in the Baby Boomer age range, I think the ‘stick to what you know and trust’ mentality causes many to shy away from solar, due to the idea that change is more challenging than appealing currently.”
With files from Victoria Alvarado
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