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New solar map tool for St. Albert

Online map shows potential sun power
2006 EnviroFile02 sup
SUN MAP — A new free webtool launched earlier this month in St. Albert that shows the solar potential of any building in town. Shown here is St. Albert Place. Brighter colours suggest more solar potential. MYHEAT.CA/Photo

An Alberta company has released a free tool to illuminate the solar potential of St. Albert homes.

The City of Edmonton and MyHEAT launched the MyHEAT Solar website June 3 as part of Environment Week. The website is meant to encourage people to install solar panels on their homes and tap into Edmonton’s solar rebate program.

MyHEAT spokesperson Daygan Fowler said her Calgary-based company decided to launch this website in Edmonton as it had previously worked with the city on other projects, such as their energy efficiency map. St. Albert and Sherwood Park were included, as they happened to have data for those regions.

“We want to make installing rooftop solar panels really easy and understandable for everyone,” she said.

The website uses 3D modelling and weather and sun position data from Google’s Project Sunroof to calculate the solar potential of homes in Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park and display it on a map, Fowler explained. The brighter the home, the more power it could potentially generate. The website also shows a building’s maximum amount of solar hours and solar panel area.

Fowler said the website should help people compare the solar potential of different homes and get a rough idea on where to put their panels. They’ll still have to have an installer do a more detailed assessment to figure out how much solar they should put up, though.

The website suggests most St. Albert homes receive 900 to 1,500 hours of sunlight a year, with St. Albert Place getting about 1,310.

“Alberta does have great solar potential,” Fowler said, and is second only to Saskatchewan in Canada.

This website is a great public education tool that could help show people the potential for solar in their neighbourhood, said Benjamin Thibault of the Solar Energy Society of Alberta. It’s not perfect, though – it doesn’t cover detached garages that might have excellent solar exposure, for example – so it’s important to get a proper site assessment done before you put up those panels.

The website is at

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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