Vancouver Ranks Last in List of Best Cities for Solar in Canada

vancouverIn our long series on the state of solar in Canada, British Columbia is held out as a leading light for solar. But according to the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation in a new ranking, Vancouver BC is dead last in supporting Canada solar with smart solar policies.

SPEC this month released the first ranking of Canadian cities’ solar policies, and found that, among 17 large Canadian cities, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto were ranked best, while Surrey and Vancouver fell to the bottom of the list.

Among the factors putting Vancouver at the bottom of the heap are the municipal requirements for home solar installations, which put Vancouver as the most expensive city in the list, and more than 20 times the permitting costs of top-ranked Cawston BC — just CAN$80 to install a 5-kilowatt system in Cawston compared to $2,255 for the same system in Vancouver.

The chart below lays out the various permitting costs in each of the cities:


Alberta as a province is only just beginning to get up to speed on solar, but Edmonton is the top-ranked city in the SPEC report.

Writing in the ECO Report, Roy Hales covers what Edmonton is doing for solar:

Jenny Hong, Senior Environmental Project Manager with the City of Edmonton, said permitting can be a significant barrier, especially for residential solar installations. Alberta is still in the beginning phases of solar adoption, but Edmonton has established an energy resilience target to generate 10% of the city’s electricity locally, such as through Solar PV, by 2035.

“As part of the energy transition strategy (which the city passed on April 29th, 2015), We will be exploring and implementing various initiatives to increase PV solar adoption in new and existing residential buildings as well as institutional, commercial and industrial buildings,” she said.

Meanwhile, Vancouver-based Rob Baxter, the president of SPEC as well as the co-founder of solar installer Vancouver Renewable Energy, told Hales that “Vancouver is talking about being the greenest city. It seems to me that in this case you would want to have at policy that was at least as good as other cities, if not better.”

Vancouver photo CC-licensed by Cliff Hellis on Flickr.

Matthew Wheeland
Author: Matthew Wheeland

Matthew Wheeland is the editor of He has been an environmental journalist for nearly 15 years, covering everything from farming to green chemistry to corporate sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @MattWheeland.

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Posted in: Solar Energy, Solar Homes, Solar Policy, Solar Trends

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