Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into electricity through photovoltaic (PV) cells.
Solar energy can be deployed at multiple scales. A single photovoltaic cell might power a calculator or a flashlight. A solar panel, grouping together many photovoltaic cells, can power a road sign or lights in a motor home.
Multiple solar panels can be combined into solar arrays to provide power directly to homes and businesses. They can also be deployed at a utility-scale, providing power directly to the electricity grid or helping to meet the energy needs of remote, off-grid communities.
In Canada, there are currently more than 43,000 solar (PV) energy installations on residential, commercial and industrial rooftops, providing power directly to those homes and businesses.
There are many advantages when consumers generate their own solar energy on-site:
- Increased energy independence for individuals
- Savings for households and businesses, because less electricity needs to be purchased from the grid
- Lower overall costs for the electricity system, by helping to avoid the need for new utility-scale electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure
Most of Canada’s solar PV capacity consists of utility-scale solar installations, typically known as “solar farms.” This sector of the industry is poised for significant growth, driven by massive cost reductions and the need for non-greenhouse-gas-emitting electricity generation to address climate change.
While wind, solar and energy storage are unique and distinct technologies, they are natural allies. Learn more about these technologies with so much potential to work together: wind, solar, storage, hybrid.