Exploring The Benefits & Challenges Of Rural Solar Panel Systems
September 8, 2023
Solar energy is one of the most abundant and clean sources of power available on Earth. It can provide electricity for homes, businesses, farms, and communities without relying solely on fossil fuels.
In Canada, many rural and remote areas face challenges in accessing reliable and affordable electricity from the grid and often depend on expensive generators. In such situations, solar panels are a great alternative to address the electricity challenges of rural and remote areas to increase the energy resilience of these areas while promoting affordability and sustainability.
In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and challenges of rural-owned solar panel systems, and how professional solar panel installers can help these communities achieve energy independence, save money, and reduce emissions.
Why Should You Go Solar In Rural Canada?
There are many reasons why rural communities in Canada should consider going solar. Here are some of the main benefits:
Solar panel systems can provide electricity for rural homes and businesses without relying on the grid or diesel generators. This can improve the reliability and security of electricity supply, especially in areas where grid outages are frequent or diesel delivery is difficult. Solar panel systems can also be combined with battery storage or backup generators to ensure uninterrupted power during cloudy days or nights.
Solar panel systems can help rural residents and businesses save money on electricity bills by reducing or eliminating their dependence on grid or diesel power. Since Saskatchewan is one of the sunniest provinces in Canada, residential and commercial properties with solar power systems can save a lot of money. Over the system’s lifetime, these savings can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Solar panel systems can help rural communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact by replacing diesel generators or grid power with clean and renewable energy.
What Are The Challenges Of Rural Solar?
Despite the many benefits of solar energy, rural communities in Canada also need help in adopting this technology. Here are some of the main barriers to installing solar panels in rural areas:
High Upfront Costs
Solar panel systems require a significant initial investment to purchase and install the equipment. Depending on the size and location of the system, the cost can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. For many rural residents and businesses, this can be a financial hurdle that prevents them from going solar.
Lack Of Access To Financing
Another challenge for rural solar is the need for more access to financing options that can help cover the upfront costs of the system. Many rural areas need more or have no access to banks, credit unions, or other lenders that offer loans or leases for solar projects. Moreover, some rural customers may need more credit history or income to qualify for financing.
Limited Technical Support
Rural solar also needs more technical support and maintenance. Many rural areas need more qualified solar installers or technicians to provide installation, repair, or troubleshooting services for solar panel systems. This can make it difficult for rural customers to find reliable and affordable service providers for their solar projects.
How To Overcome The Challenges Of Rural Solar
Despite the challenges, there are also solutions and opportunities for rural communities in Canada to overcome these barriers and embrace solar energy. Here are some of the ways:
Government Incentives And Rebates
One of the most effective ways to reduce the upfront costs of rural solar is to take advantage of the government incentives and rebates available for solar projects. Some of the prominent incentives are:
- The Net Metering Program allows residential, agricultural, and commercial customers with solar systems up to 100 kW to send excess electricity to the grid and receive credits that offset their electricity bills.
- Solar And Wind-Powered Pump Grant through which farmers can buy and install solar or wind pumps for watering livestock. It pays half of the costs over $500, up to $500. The grant is from SaskPower and is for remote locations.
- The Saskatchewan Lean Improvements in Manufacturing (SLIM) program helps agri-businesses, First Nations and abattoirs in Saskatchewan improve their value-added processing of agricultural products. It provides funds for best practices, technologies, such as solar power systems, and processes that boost productivity, efficiency, and emissions reduction.
- Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) program for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities all over Canada to adopt clean energy solutions.
There are several other incentives and grants available at both federal and provincial to facilitate the penetration of solar power systems all over Canada.
Community-Owned Solar Systems
Another way to overcome the financing and technical challenges of rural solar is to adopt community-owned or cooperative models that allow multiple customers to share the costs and benefits of a solar project. For example, a community-owned solar project can involve a group of rural residents or businesses that pool their resources and form a legal entity to own and operate a solar system that serves their collective needs.
Hire Experienced Solar Panel Installers
One way to overcome the technical support and maintenance challenges of rural solar is to hire experienced solar panel installers who have the skills and knowledge to provide quality service for rural customers.
Experienced solar panel installers can help rural customers with every aspect of their solar projects, from site assessment and design to installation and commissioning. They can also offer warranties and guarantees for their work, ensuring customer satisfaction and peace of mind.
About Sundawg Solar
Sundawg Solar is a professional solar energy company based in Saskatchewan. We have a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable solar panel installers who provide the best solar panel installation solutions for residential, commercial, agricultural or rural areas. If you want to enjoy experienced solar panel installation services and make the process affordable with grants and incentives, contact us for more information.