Welcome to Solar TO – Toronto’s Online Solar Resource

Through this portal, the City provides information and resources to help Toronto residents and businesses assess the rooftop solar potential of their properties and proceed through the steps to installation.

City staff have managed the installation of more than 100 rooftop solar photovoltaic systems on a variety of City-owned buildings to date, including community centres, work yards, libraries and EMS stations. See below for important information to help you get started.

The SolarTO Map

The SolarTO Map is an interactive online mapping tool to help you quickly estimate the rooftop solar potential of your homes and/or building – an important first step in deciding if solar is right for you. Simply enter your address to receive an estimate of your system size, cost, savings, payback period and more.

Homes and buildings are the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto.

Following City Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, the City’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy was adopted with a stronger emissions reduction target for Toronto: net zero emissions by 2040.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, 75 per cent of our energy must be from renewable energy/low carbon sources by the year 2050. Solar will play a significant role.

In addition to being a source of clean energy, solar can be paired with battery storage to ensure electricity is available to you when it’s needed most, including during power outages.

Electricity Bill Savings

Solar allows you to generate a portion of your own electricity, which will reduce your electricity costs and your dependency on the grid’s power. Depending on the size of your solar system, roof space, and shading, you can easily offset 30 to 90 per cent of your electricity costs.

Protection from Rising Electricity Costs

Electricity rates increase by 5 to 7 per cent annually. Going solar can make your monthly expenses more predictable, protecting you from rising electricity costs.

Increased Resiliency

Solar installations combined with battery storage provide increased protection during grid outages, as the system stores excess energy for later use.

Increased Property Value

Demand for homes equipped with solar panels continues to grow and could result in higher property/resale value.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Electricity generated by solar panels is green, renewable, and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also reduces electricity demand and our impact on the grid as we continue to move towards electrification.

Improved Corporate Social Responsibility

help to meet your business’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments.

Competitive Advantage

The social and financial benefits of going solar and improving your environmental image can provide a competitive advantage.

Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells, convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar cells are electrically connected to each other to form a solar panel. The internal circuitry in the panel converts the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) electricity. The inverter then converts the direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), the most commonly used form of electricity in homes and businesses today.

Net Metering

Grid-tied solar systems in Toronto participate in the Net Metering Program offered by Toronto Hydro.

When your solar panels produce more electricity than you need, the Net Metering Program allows you to send excess electricity to the grid in exchange for a credit on your monthly bill. Excess generation credits can be carried forward for a consecutive 12-month period to offset future electricity costs.

Most buildings will produce excess electricity in the summer months and use more electricity from the grid in the winter. You can draw from the extra credits generated in the summer months, at night and during the winter months when you need them.

  1. Check your solar potential by using the SolarTO Map.
  2. Assess the age and condition of your roof. If your roof is older than ten years, have the condition assessed by a roofer.
  3. Review your electricity bills and add up usage (in kWh) over 12 months to determine your annual electricity usage. To see how much electricity can be offset by solar, compare your usage with the annual solar electricity generation estimated by the SolarTO Map.
  4. Taking steps to reduce your energy consumption before adding solar can save you money on energy costs and reduce the number of solar panels you need. Refer to the City’s BetterHomesTO website to explore options to increase your energy efficiency.
  5. Obtain proposals from solar installers. Refer to the Solar Directory to find installers.
  6. Your selected solar installer will submit a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pre-Assessment application to Toronto Hydro to confirm grid capacity. If the DER is approved, continue to the next step.
  7. Your selected installer will conduct an onsite inspection to determine the best system size and location for your panels. You will review the design and sign the proposal.
  8. Ask your installer if your roof requires structural reinforcement or replacement. Your installer will arrange the structural review of your roof as part of the Building Permit requirements.
  9. Explore available financing and incentives by refer to the Financing & Incentives tab.
  10. Your solar installer will file applications for the required permits, finalize the design, and procure the equipment.
  11. Your installer will install the solar system.

 

The SolarTO Map can help you assess the solar potential of your property by calculating the system size, cost estimate, payback period, projected savings, and carbon emissions reduction.

If the SolarTO Map is unable to calculate the potential of your property, please email us at SolarTO@toronto.ca so we can assist you.

The SolarTO Map can help you assess the solar potential of your property by calculating the system size, cost estimate, payback period, projected savings, and carbon emissions reduction. Please note that the map cannot assess the solar potential of parking lots and energy storage opportunities.

Commercial/Industrial Rooftop Solar Potential for Building Portfolio

If you are interested in assessing solar potential for a portfolio of multiple buildings, please send the addresses by email to SolarTO@toronto.ca and City staff will provide the following:

  • detailed online site assessment for your properties
  • zoning verification and conceptual layout/system sizing and budgetary estimates
  • assistance with completing the preliminary Toronto Hydro Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pre-Assessment Application

Solar Carport (Parking Lot)

If you are interested in investigating solar carport opportunities, you can request an assessment by sending your address by email to SolarTO@toronto.ca and City staff will provide the following:

  • online visual check to determine opportunities
  • zoning verification and conceptual layout/system sizing and budgetary estimates
  • assistance with Toronto Hydro DER Pre-Assessment Application, assistance with geotechnical analysis and Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) / Renewable Energy Approval (REA) guidance

Energy Storage

Large commercial and industrial facilities that pay a large portion of their energy bills to global adjustment charges can benefit from energy storage. If you are a Class A building participating in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), and interested in assessing energy storage, please email SolarTO@toronto.ca with your address and City staff will provide:

  • Conceptual storage system size, output and budgetary estimates
  • Assistance with Toronto Hydro DER application
  • Guidance on completing a feasibility report with a third party

 

City of Toronto – Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)

Through HELP, homeowners can get a low-interest loan of up to $75,000 to cover the cost of home energy improvements, including solar and energy storage. HELP allows you to repay the loan via installments on your property tax bill, and the loan can be paid off at any time without penalty. Detached, semi-detached, row or townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, and properties with up to three floors and under six units are eligible. Currently, strata condo properties are not eligible.

The loan will be attached to your property and not to you, the property owner. This means that if you sell your home before the loan is repaid, the new owner can assume the balance of the loan.

For additional information, email homeenergyloan@toronto.ca or visit the HELP webpage .

City of Toronto – Energy Retrofit Loan (ERL) Program

Through its ERL Program, the City offers low-interest loans to help building owners invest in energy improvements including solar and storage. The ERL offers fixed-rate financing for up to 100 per cent of the project costs at a rate equal to the City’s cost of borrowing. Funding can be provided in advance of the project construction, and repayment terms will be aligned with the expected utility savings for up to 20 years. Loan approval is subject to a technical and financial review.

The following types of buildings are eligible:

  • Commercial, Retail and Industrial
  • Multi-Family Residential
  • Condominium buildings (common areas only, not individual units)
  • Hospitals and Long-Term Care
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Not-for-profit
  • Social Housing
  • Hospitality

For more information contact the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) at bbp@toronto.ca, call 416-392-1500, or visit the BBP webpage.

City of Toronto – Eco-Roof Incentive Program

If you are looking to replace your roof, the City of Toronto offers incentives to support the installation of green roofs and cool roofs. Cool roofs reflect the sun’s rays and reduce heat build-up through a reflective membrane or coating applied over an existing or new roof system. Green roofs are a layer of vegetation planted on top of a roof.

While solar PV is not directly part of the City’s Eco-Roof Incentive program; solar and eco-roofs work well together. For example, you can install a cool roof or a green roof and install solar on top.

For additional information, email ecoroof@toronto.ca or visit the Eco-Roof Incentive Program webpage.

Canada Greener Homes Grant

The federal government is offering grants of up to $5,000 ($1,000 per kW installed) to eligible homeowners to support the installation of solar panels. The government is also offering climate resiliency grants, including a $1,000 grant for batteries connected to photovoltaic systems to provide standby power for homes. These grants are being offered Canada-wide on a first-come-first-served basis.

Make sure that you carefully read all eligibility criteria and grant requirements to be sure that you qualify for reimbursement. Review details on NRCANs Canada Greener Homes Grant’s website.

Federal Tax Incentive For Businesses

The Federal government offers businesses tax incentives to fully expense clean energy generation projects through the Income Tax Act and Income Tax Regulations’ measures including Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) program and the Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expense (CRCE). Businesses can use these incentives to fully expense solar energy equipment.

Due to the complexity of the tax legislation regarding clean energy equipment, when applying for the incentive, we highly recommend you consult a tax attorney or an accountant to confirm all requirements are met.

Learn more about the Government of Canada’s Tax Incentives for Clean Energy Equipment.

Group Buy

Residents and businesses can organize bulk buy groups to get discounts on solar system installations. Organized groups have the advantage of providing installers with a large pool of interested buyers, reducing individual transaction costs, and achieving greater purchasing power through economies of scale.

Organizing a bulk buy campaign is a demanding process best managed by a designated group of people, such as leaders of a local community group, who can undertake community outreach and education. We recommend that the organizers of the group reach out to multiple installers to explore group buy options. A competitive installer selection process can be undertaken. Once the installer has been chosen, a tiered pricing structure could be negotiated where the more individuals who join, the lower the price for all participants.

The City of Toronto Solar Directory (September 2021 Edition) lists solar companies in the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto. The Directory includes a brief description of each company, contact information, service offering, product offering, and the building types serviced. The City of Toronto makes no guarantees about the companies listed in the Directory. Please refer to the Disclaimer in the Directory for more information.

The searchable Excel version of the Directory allows you to filter the companies to focus on service or product types or provider location.

Download the Solar Directory (PDF)

Download the Solar Directory (Searchable Excel)