Montréal, June 29, 2018

Press Release

Solar energy: Don’t be blinded by the (sun)light!

Power generation using solar panels is booming worldwide. Although it’s not as popular here, Québec is no exception: the number of companies promoting solar power is rising steadily. As the Office de la protection du consommateur points out, vigilance is still essential if you want be sure your self-generation project will be cost-effective.

That’s why Hydro-Québec has launched a new Web site for customers considering installing solar panels to supply some of their power:

Be wary of promises of a quick payback!

Installing solar panels involves high upfront costs in comparison to anticipated savings on your electricity bill. Some solar panel vendors promise a quick payback based on unrealistic power generation data and inflated potential savings.

The main obstacle to the widespread use of solar panels in Québec is the substantial upfront costs, combined with limited yearly savings. In fact, the cost of electricity in Québec is so low that the savings do not allow solar power generators to recoup their initial investment for at least 30 years. In 2018, customer-generators will not have even covered their costs by the time they have to replace their roof and panels. For example, for an average house, a system composed of 16 photovoltaic panels costs roughly $14,400, but generates only around $500 in savings each year.

Assessing your solar power project

According to Natural Resources Canada, in southern Québec, every kilowatt of installed capacity can generate approximately 1,200 kWh a year. After assessing the power-generation potential of the solar panels that you plan to install, you can estimate how much you will save on your electricity bill. Here’s how:

  • Check your current consumption by logging into your Customer Space (as a residential customer or business customer) to view your Consumption Profile.
  • Determine the average number of kilowatthours your solar power system will be able to generate in a year by multiplying the system’s total installed capacity (in kilowatts) by 1,200 kWh for an ideal scenario in Québec.

Hydro-Québec recommends that you consult an engineer specializing in the field to assess your project’s cost-effectiveness before purchasing a PV solar system.

Environmental footprint

In terms of its greenhouse gas emissions, the electricity flowing through Hydro-Québec’s power grid has a smaller environmental footprint than any form of self-generated electrical power.

That’s the conclusion of an independent study by the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (known as CIRAIG). It shows that the environmental footprint of the electricity in Hydro-Québec’s grid is only half that of electricity generated by customers using photovoltaic solar panels or small wind turbines.


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