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Energy management

Produce renewable energy on-site

Use solar power to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Illustration of a solar panel reflecting a blue sky with clouds

What is on-site renewable energy?

The most common on-site renewable energy systems are solar-powered. Solar setups convert light energy from the sun into electrical current. They can be installed in sun-facing areas such as rooftops, external walls or parking lots.

The benefits of producing your own energy

The carbon footprints of solar energy systems are much lower than many other electricity sources. And though upfront costs for installation can be high, prices for equipment continue to fall because of lower material costs and tax incentives. If your solar energy system ends up producing more energy than you use, you can also sell it back to the grid regardless of where you’re located across Canada.

Roadmap to producing your own renewable energy

Optimize your energy use

Before you invest time and money to produce your own electricity, figure out how much energy your business uses. Conduct an energy audit to establish your energy consumption baseline and then find ways to improve efficiency. Simple solutions like adding automatic timers to light fixtures and encouraging staff to power down their computers when they leave work are easy but efficient ways to save energy (and therefore money).

Once you’ve done an energy audit and implemented strategies to increase your business’s efficiency, you will have a clearer sense of what size of solar energy system you need.

Assess your needs and capacity

These three variables will help you determine if solar is right for you.

Your current energy needs

  • Solar modules can scale from single-panel setups to whole solar farms. Knowing how much power you are looking to generate will help determine how many modules you will need and how much your setup will cost.

Your available space

  • To accommodate your modules, you will need sun-facing surfaces like rooftops or external walls. If your company doesn’t own its building or outdoor space, or if you do not have a lease agreement that allows for solar panels to be installed, then solar will not be a viable option unless you come to an agreement with the property owners.

Your building’s structural and electrical capacity

  • Depending on how much power your planned solar energy system will generate, you may also have to upgrade your building’s structure or electrical system to accommodate the added weight and electrical output that comes with a solar energy system.

Know your budget

A solar energy system can be expensive to install, especially if you have to renovate your building to accommodate it. That’s why it’s important to understand what you can expect to spend, and how much you can expect to save.

Depending on where you are in Canada, your carbon and financial costs associated with your electricity use will vary. This is because some forms of electricity generation, like hydro and wind, are relatively cheap to produce. Assess your power bill spending over a 25-year term—the warrantied lifespan for most solar modules—to decide if that money will be better spent on a solar setup instead of a power bill.

There are currently a variety of loans, financing options and tax incentives available across Canada that can help ease the costs associated with installing a solar array.

Install your renewable energy system

Once you’ve got a handle on your energy needs and your budget, find a reputable solar construction company to build your customized solar energy system.

To help you switch to solar, BDC has put together a step-by-step guide. You will find all the information you need to select the right panels, customize your installations and make sure you keep the power flowing all year round.

Monitor your energy use

Keep track of your energy consumption to make the most of it. Use the lessons learned in your energy audit to keep your company accountable for its energy use and continue to find ways to reduce your overall energy consumption. By using less, you may end up producing excess energy from your solar setup, which you can then sell back to the grid, giving you another revenue stream.

Communicate your efforts

Keep track of your energy consumption to make the most of it. Use the lessons learned in your energy audit to keep your company accountable for its energy use and continue to find ways to reduce your overall energy consumption. By using less, you may end up producing excess energy from your solar setup, which you can then sell back to the grid, giving you another revenue stream.

Find tax credits and incentive programs

On the right, we compiled a non-exhaustive list of tax credits and incentive programs for different provinces.

For your information, the Accelerated Investment Incentive applies to all of Canada. It allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of specified clean energy equipment.

Find the right grant for your climate action

Discover our list of over 60 governmental active grants, tax credits and loan programs to support the environmental initiatives of Canadian businesses.

Resources

Canadian Renewable Energy Association

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association can connect you with the right solar construction company.

Natural Resources Canada | Provincial and territorial energy profiles

See how your provincial power provider’s carbon footprint compares to solar power.

The content of this webpage is provided for information purposes only, and the reader is responsible for any decisions resulting from its use. The results of applying the content are not guaranteed by BDC and may vary depending on the context, market, sector, financial situation and size of the company. Content originating from a source outside of BDC is the sole responsibility of the author of that source.

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