Calgarycitynews.com, Nov 2, 2016
Check out the Solar Potential Map to find out!
In today’s world, data is power and in the case of the new Solar Potential Map released on The City’s Map Gallery, solar data can help Calgarians make some powerful decisions about powering their homes.
The new solar potential map is intended to be a starting point for Calgarians who are curious about the viability of solar as an energy source for their particular home or building. Using data collected in 2012 and 2013, the map shows all buildings in Calgary’s city limits and their varying degrees of solar exposure, on an annual basis, in generalized optimal conditions.
“The solar potential map can be the first step in determining if a solar energy system could work on your home”, says Liz Findlay, the Manager of Geospatial Business Solutions, the group who created the map. “But this is just the first step. People considering a solar installation should contact a solar system professional to conduct a thorough assessment for their particular building and location”.
The best place to look for solar professionals is the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), which has an online member directory.
Solar energy isn’t just for homes. The City is a leader in tapping into the potential of the sun. Various City facilities already have solar systems installed to off-set some of their electricity needs and costs. You can find the particular locations on the solar potential map using the information icons on the map or scrolling through the project listings on the left side bar. To find your home on the map, simply type your home address in the search bar.
“The City is using some of this solar data as an initial assessment tool for City-owned facilities that may have potential for solar technology”, says Arsheel Hirji, the Leader of Sustainable Infrastructure in Engineering & Energy Services. “We then conduct a more extensive evaluation of the sites, including structural evaluations, financial viability, detailed solar exposure evaluations and secured funding sources.”
One facility in particular, Southland Leisure Centre, just celebrated the one year anniversary of its solar system installation and the data is impressive. Here are some quick facts:
- In 2015, The City installed a 153 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Southland Leisure (The City’s largest solar system to date).
- Even with the rainy and cloudy summer of 2016, the project produced 179,665 kWh of electricity in its first year of operation.
- This is enough electricity to power 24 Calgary homes for a year and is equivalent to the emission reductions of removing 23 passenger vehicles from the road.
- The system displaced approximately $26,000 in electricity charges.
The geospatial and sustainable infrastructure experts who have led the solar data work are part of Corporate Analytics & Innovation (CAI). The CAI business unit works with other City service areas to use data, analytical tools and technologies to help make better decisions, and improve City operations and services.
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately this service is only in Calgary at the present time. Perhaps one of our readers is in a position to create one for Victoria, BC?