The City of Toronto’s website and BetterHomesTO website are the only official sources of information about the City’s SolarTO and Home Energy Loan Programs (HELP). This application form is the only valid application for the HELP program. If you are unsure if a website is associated with the City, please contact 311 to confirm.
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 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.
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.
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.
Solar installations combined with battery storage provide increased protection during grid outages, as the system stores excess energy for later use.
Demand for homes equipped with solar panels continues to grow and could result in higher property/resale value.
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.
help to meet your business’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
Through HELP, homeowners can get a no interest or low-interest loan of up to $125,000 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.
HELP also offers additional incentives for solar installations.
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.
If you are looking to replace your roof, the City of Toronto offers incentives to support the installation of green roofs and cool roofs.
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.
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. For more information, please visit the Canada Greener Homes Grant website.
For projects eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant (including solar PV), the federal government is also offering a zero-interest loan of up to $40,000 over a 10-year repayment period. For more information and eligibility requirements, visit the Canada Greener Homes Loan website.
Residents and businesses can choose to buy a solar system outright, or lease or finance it from a third party. In a third party financing agreement, the developer/installer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on the customer’s property. Customers can enter into either one of the two third-party financing arrangements:
To learn more about third-party agreements, visit the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Net Metering webpage.
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).
Due to the complexity of the tax legislation regarding clean energy equipment, 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.
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.
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.