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Energy Development Initiative



Solar Energy

Manitoba receives abundant solar energy. Direct solar radiation received in Manitoba is equal to almost 2 billion terajoules of energy per year.

If only 1% of this energy was converted into electricity, it would be equal to almost 200 times the annual output of all the hydroelectric dams in Manitoba.

Solar heating and photovoltaic systems are clean and non-polluting energy sources, which can reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy resources.

Harnessing the Sun's Energy

The sun generates an enormous amount of energy each second, by converting hydrogen to helium.

Called solar radiation, this energy radiates into space and reaches the earth as:

  • sunlight (47%)
  • ultraviolet rays (7%), and
  • infrared radiation or heat (46%).

The components used by solar energy systems are sunlight and infrared radiation.

Converting Solar Radiation into Electricity/Solar Photovoltaic

Photovoltaic (PV) cells produce electricity directly from sunlight. PV cells are also called:

  • solar cells
  • photovoltaic cells
  • photocells, or
  • photoelectric cells.
Harnessing the Sun's Energy
Converting Solar Radiation into Electricity
Solar Thermal Energy
Incentives - Solar Thermal Energy
News Releases
News Articles
Quick Facts on Solar Energy
Solar electric (photovoltaic) systems convert the light from the sun into electricity.

In Canada, photovoltaic systems are often used in remote areas to provide electricity for cottages, telecommunications equipment, water pumping and electric fencing on farms, and navigational aids.

Solar thermal systems harness solar energy for thermal energy (heat).

Solar thermal energy can heat space and water for homes, commercial buildings, swimming pools and solar hot water systems.
When light strikes the junction between certain materials, a small voltage is produced. This is called a photovoltaic effect.

A typical PV cell contains two very thin layers of silicon with a wire attached to each layer. Each PV cell measures from 8 to 15 centimetres (3 - 6 inches) in diameter with the thickness of a human hair.

When very small bundles of light energy from the sun called Photons strike the cell, they cause electrons to flow from the bottom layer of the cell to the top layer.

Freed electrons are forced to flow through the wire, and any electrical load connected to it, towards the bottom layer producing an electric current. The current will continue as long as sunlight falls on the PV cell.

Information and statistics excerpted from:
Photovoltaic Systems in Manitoba
download the pdf (1.5 MB) english | french

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Solar Thermal Energy

Solar radiation can be 'captured' and converted into useful energy. The simplest systems convert solar energy into low-grade heat (temperatures below the boiling point) for space and water heating.

A solar heating system consists of collectors, a storage unit, a circulation system and controls.

The key element is the solar collector. Its absorbs the maximum incoming solar energy and transfers this energy to the heat transfer medium with a minimum of loss due to reflection, conduction and re-radiation.

Currently, the most popular form of heat transfer medium for solar heating systems is a water and antifreeze mixture, although water and air are also commonly used.

When the medium is a liquid, the storage unit can be a tank that stands alone, or is connected to an existing conventional gas or electric hot water tank. When the medium is air, the storage unit consists of an enclosed container full of rocks or other suitable material to absorb heat.

All but the most simple types of solar heating systems have a circulation system to keep the heat-transfer continually moving from collector to storage unit.

Unless the flow is by natural convection, a pump or fan is needed to force the heat-transfer medium on its way. A control unit, with a temperature sensor, turns the pump or fan on and off as required to maintain temperatures in the system.

Information and statistics excerpted from:
Solar Heating Systems in Manitoba
download the pdf (1.5 MB) english | french

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Incentives – Solar Thermal Energy

Manitoba Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit

The Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit* is extended to SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY systems purchased for use in Manitoba starting in 2009.  Purchasers who install specified solar heating equipment in Manitoba will qualify for a refundable 10% Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit on the eligible capital costs.

Capital costs include invoiced costs of the solar heating system, as well as taxes – Manitoba sales tax, federal Goods and Services Tax, excise and customs taxes – and other costs related to acquiring and making the system operational – such as insurance, freight, installation and design. The costs must be incurred and paid. Any other government assistance received for purchasing or installing the system will reduce the amount claimable under the tax credit. Borrowing costs are not eligible.

Eligible Equipment (click to open)

Specified equipment must be conventional active solar heating equipment that is or will be used primarily for the purpose of heating liquid or gas but not including:

  • a building or part of a building (other than a solar collector that is not a window and that is     integrated into a building),
  • equipment used to heat water for use in a swimming pool, or
  • equipment that distributes heated air or water in a building.

Acceptable new solar collectors must meet CSA Standard F378-87 or equivalent in order to qualify for the credit.  It is not necessary to install a complete heating system in order to qualify for the credit. 


Installation Requirements (click to open)

For eligible solar thermal energy equipment, the system must have a signed commissioning report approved by a professional engineer, unless the system is for an owner-occupied residence.

* Where information does not correspond to the governing legislation and regulation, the latter prevails.


Solar Water Heating

A Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit is available from the Government of Manitoba for eligible solar thermal energy equipment.  

A repayable loan may be available from Manitoba Hydro to finance the purchase of a solar water heating system installed in a residence.

Save now with a Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit for SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY Installations...AND save later on your energy bills.

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News Releases

April 27, 2009
Province Extends Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit to Solar Thermal Systems: Rondeau

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News Articles

Solar wall provides valuable renewable-resource lessons
by Nick Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, January 20, 2011

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For Solar Thermal Energy information or to discuss solar thermal/heating integration with other energy systems including geothermal technologies, contact:

Robert Walger
Project Manager - Solar Heating / Solar Thermal
Energy Division
Government of Manitoba
Winnipeg MB 
Tel: 204-945-7905 
Email: Robert.Walger@gov.mb.ca


For information on solar photovoltaic, contact:

Rick Halas
Project Manager - Solar Electricity
Energy Division
Government of Manitoba
Winnipeg MB 
Tel: 204-945-4004
Email: Rick.Halas@gov.mb.ca

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