Photovoltaic potential and solar resource maps of Canada

Interactive maps of the photovoltaic (PV) potential and solar resource of Canada have been developed by the Canadian Forest Service (Great Lakes Forestry Centre) in collaboration with the CanmetENERGY Photovoltaic systems group. Solar resource data was provided by the Data Analysis and Archive Division, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada. The maps display the following two variables on a 300 arc seconds ~10 km grid across Canada:

  • Mean daily global insolation: This is the mean over 20 years of the total global solar radiation received per day. Means are calculated for each month and for the entire year. Mean daily global insolation is given both in Megajoules per square meter (MJ/m²) and in kilowatt-hours per square meter (kWh/m²).
  • The PV potential (kWh/kW): This gives a simple estimate of how much AC electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) is expected to be generated on average over the lifetime of a typical grid-connected photovoltaic system (without batteries) per unit of photovoltaic system rated DC power in kilowatts (kW) at Standard Test Conditions (STC). PV potential values are given as totals for each month and for the entire year.

The maps are presented for six different PV array orientations: a sun-tracking orientation and five fixed South-facing orientations with latitude, vertical (90°), horizontal (0°) and latitude ± 15° tilts (see figure). Data can be obtained at any grid location by querying the maps.

Database of photovoltaic potential and solar resource for Canadian municipalities

Data can be obtained directly for individual municipalities (over 3500 municipalities are included) by selecting a municipality on the left menu. A search can be performed by entering all or part of the municipality name (a minimum of 3 characters is required in the search string), or by browsing municipalities listed by province, alphabetically.

Illustration of different PV array orientations

Illustration of different PV array orientations

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