Solar panels

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Related info

HAT Smart:
Understanding solar panels

Microgeneration guidelines

Solar energy systems providers in Alberta

New house construction

Building a commercial space

Apply for an electrical permit

installing_PV_panelsSolar energy works in any climate, and the fuel (sunshine) is plentiful in Medicine Hat and free! Therefore, installation of solar panels is an appealing alternative for some homeowners. 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.

Remember, we are here to help! If you have questions, contact us:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6
Ph. 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

 


Adding solar collectors to your home can help by reducing the kilowatt-hour based charges on the electric portion of your utility bill. Utilizing solar energy thereby means you may be less affected by price increases of conventional electricity.

Planning your home solar energy system

  Consider what type of system you want: water heating or photovoltaic (electricity producing). Photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most popular, and are eligible for grant programs.  For more information, see below: Photovoltaic vs Thermal and What rebates are available?

  Work with a qualified professional to select the appropriate technology and system size for your home. The two associations shown below can provide guidance on selecting qualified solar energy providers in Medicine Hat. The City of Medicine Hat does not recommend nor endorse any solar energy service providers.

  Solar Energy Society of Alberta
  The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA)

  Make sure your house is as energy-efficient as possible before adding solar collectors. For more information, visit Energy efficiency and conservation tips.

  If you are buying a new home, it may make sense to look for a solar-ready house. It will have simple provisions such as roof space, utility room space and a pipe chase to connect the roof and utility room, making it easier to add solar panels.

  For more information about going solar, see the guides below:

icon_PDFSolar Ready Guidelines (Natural Resources Canada)

icon_PDFSafety Codes Bulletin: Installation of Solar Panels Systems (City of MH)

icon_PDFPhotovoltaic Systems: Alberta Requirements (Alberta Government)

 

Connecting to the City's electric grid

If specific requirements are met, you will be eligible to 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.

For more information about Microgeneration and Net Metering within the City of Medicine Hat, visit:

  Understanding the benefits of solar PV systems

  Microgeneration guidelines

  Solar cost-saving calculator



The Residential and Commercial Solar Program (RCSP) provides financial incentives to Alberta homeowners, businesses, and non-profits who install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes, businesses, and facilities in Alberta. Learn more at:

  Energy Efficiency Alberta - Solar

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. Learn more at:

  HAT Smart - Solar Electric Program (2019)



 solar PV diagram

Solar photovoltaic (PV)

This is a system that converts sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic solar panels are mounted on a framing system or flush with the roof or exterior wall of a building to capture sunlight. The panels are wired to the home's electrical panel or battery array to supply electricity to the building and feed excess power back into the grid.

Solar photovoltaic systems are eligible for rebates from HAT Smart and the Province of Alberta (see above: What rebates are available?)

solar thermal diagram

Solar thermal (hot water)

This is a system that uses the sun's radiation to heat water. Solar thermal flat plates are mounted on a roof, and a heat transfer fluid is pumped through tubes in the plates and circulated to a heat exchanger. This transfers usable heat to the home's hot water system, such as in-floor heating or space heating appliances.



  Development Permits are generally not required for installation of solar panels on buildings within Medicine Hat.

  A Building Permit and Electrical Permit are 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.

  If you are not the registered owner of the property, or the property is part of a condominium, you must have written authorized permission to do work on the property, including installation of solar panels. 

For application forms, see below: How to obtain permits.



Photovoltaic collectors require an electrical permit in Medicine Hat and must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor. Solar installers are licensed electricians that have taken additional training to understand, design and install solar PV systems. These professionals can apply for the necessary City permits on your behalf.

  To find a solar installer, see above: Going Solar.

The applicant can print the required application forms, complete them and visit Planning & Development Services. Or the applicant may drop by and we will assist them.

A permit fee is payable when applying. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee Schedule.

Contact:
Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

 

icon_PDFChecklist for Roof Mounted Solar Panels

icon_PDFBuilding Permit Application

icon_PDFElectric Permit Application   (Must be a licensed electrician)

icon_PDFPlumbing Permit Application  (For solar thermal systems only; must be a licensed plumber)

icon_PDFLand Owner Consent  (If property is not owned by applicant)

icon_PDFHow to Apply for Connection to City Electric  (guide)

icon_PDFMicrogeneration Application  (processed through the Electric Distribution Dept.)



To book inspections, phone 403-529-8208 (24 hours)

OR download the inspection request fax sheet, and fax it to 403-502-8036.

When phoning, please provide:

  Job address
  Permit number
  Your phone number
  Contractor name (if applicable)
  Contractor phone number (if applicable)

To schedule an inspection for the following business day, call or fax by 1:00pm.
You can book your inspection for a morning or afternoon, but it cannot be time-specific.
Requests received on weekends or holidays will be processed the next business day.

Inspections needed for installation of solar energy system/solar panels:

  Safety Codes Building Permit final inspection (once all work is completed).
  Safety Codes Electrical permit final inspection (once all work is completed).
  Electric Dept. Microgeneration system final inspection (once all work is acceptable for above two inspections)

For additional info, visit Inspections or contact a Safety Codes Officer.