Solar Panels

Sunshine is plentiful in Medicine Hat

Installing renewable energy systems helps reduce Medicine Hat's reliance on fossil fuels, which contributes to the city's commitment to long-term sustainability of its utility division.

Before installing solar panels on your home, check the information on this page so you know what to expect, and to ensure your work process and solar collection system comply with regulations.

Getting started

Planning your home solar energy system

  • Consider what type of solar energy system you want:
    • Solar thermal (uses the sun's warmth to heat water)
    • Photovoltaic or PV (uses the sun's light to make electricity). PV systems are more popular, and are eligible for HAT Smart rebates.
  • Work with a qualified professional to select the right technology and size for your home.
  • Make sure your house is as energy-efficient as possible before adding solar collectors.
  • If you are buying a new home, it may make sense to look for a solar-ready house. It will have roof space, utility room space and a pipe chase to connect the roof and utility room.

Connecting to the City's electric grid

  • If specific requirements are met, you can connect your solar photovoltaic system (microgenerator) to City Electric's distribution system. When you do not generate enough electricity to meet your needs, you buy the shortage from City Electric. When you generate more electricity than you need, you receive a credit with the City.
  • The City will not pay you for any excess electric generation, and you will still be required to pay the "base" electric fees included with your utilities.

To learn more about electric microgeneration, visit:

Microgeneration

Rebates

The HAT Smart program provides rebates to Medicine Hat residential utility customers who install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes. The rebate amount is awarded based on the size of the installed system.

To learn more about the HAT Smart program, visit:

HAT Smart

What permits do I need?

Building permit

A building permit is required prior to installation of any solar panels or solar electric generation system within Medicine Hat.

If the intent is to install the solar panels on a building, a development permit is not typically required.

Trade permits

  • An electrical permit is required prior to installation of any solar panels or solar electric generation system within Medicine Hat.
  • If you wish to interconnect your solar PV system to the City's Electric Distribution System, you must meet all conditions specified by the Electric Utility Department, including inspections.
  • If you wish to install a solar thermal system, it must be a packaged system, designed by an accredited engineer and installed by a licensed plumbing professional. A plumbing permit is required.

To learn more about trade permits, visit:

Trade Permits

How to apply

Online

Apply online

Please review these ePermit user guides before applying online:

 

In Person

  1. Determine which application(s) you need. You can then download checklists and forms below to complete them, or come in person to Planning & Development Services at City Hall and we will assist you.
  2. Have site plan drawing ready.
  3. Bring these required documents (USB drive preferred) and apply in person at Planning & Development Services.
  4. Payment by debit, cash, cheque, or credit card.

Forms you may need when applying in person:

Payment methods

Online or phone:

  • Visa or Mastercard

In-person:

  • Debit
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard)

Mail:

  • Cheque

How long will it take to approve permits?

  • Building permits: Typically less than 6 business days.
  • Microgeneration application: Timelines vary.

Line locates

Line locates are typically not required prior to installing solar panels on a building.

To learn more about locating underground utilities, visit:

Line locates

Inspections

Safety Codes Officers will do a final inspection for the building permit and electrical permit. Afterwards, the City Electrical department will do a final inspection of the microgeneration system.

Book online

Please review this ePermit user guide before booking online.

Inspection request (alternate)


Book by phone

Phone 403-529-8208 (automated inspection request line)

Risks when permits are not obtained

By not obtaining permits for work done on your home, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to potential future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim. There could also be consequences if you do not correct the situation, such as:

  • Enforcement action issued by a Safety Codes Officer.
  • A fine for building without a permit.
  • Having to undo work that has been completed.
  • Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
  • Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted, to fix deficiencies.
  • Potential liability to you, the homeowner, in the event of an accident.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you that permits were not required.

What if I am not the property owner?

If you are not the owner of the property, then you must get the owner's consent to apply for any changes.

Owner Consent