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ARCHIVED - The Development of Photovoltaic Resource Maps for Canada

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Sophie Pelland & Yves Poissant, CANMET Energy Technology Centre – Varennes
Daniel W. McKenney, Kevin Lawrence, Kathy Campbell
& Pia Papadopol, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service
Robert Morris, National Archives and Data Management Branch, Environment Canada

CETC Number 2006-046 / 2006-07-04


We describe the development of new, Web-based maps of insolation and photovoltaic energy potential across Canada. The maps will be made available on the Natural Resources Canada website. They are presented for each month and summed for the entire year, for five different surface orientations: a sun-tracking orientation and four fixed South-facing orientations with latitude, vertical and latitude ± 15° tilts. The models used to generate the maps are based on 1974-1993 (CERES, Environment Canada) monthly mean daily global insolation data. Insolation values were interpolated over the country in a regular grid (grid size: 300 arc seconds ~10km grid) using thin-plate smoothing splines. The models used are based on position (longitude, latitude) and precipitation (used as a surrogate for cloudiness). Photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation potential for grid-connected photovoltaic systems (in kWh per kilowatt of photovoltaic installed power capacity) was estimated from the radiation models for all fixed surface orientations for each grid cell using standard international values for the performance ratio of grid-connected photovoltaic systems. To demonstrate the value of the models beyond the maps we also developed a database of the photovoltaic production potential of over 3,500 municipalities across Canada and produced a ranking of provincial capitals and major cities in terms of PV production potential, and a list of the best "PV hotspot" for each province.

To learn more about CanmetENERGY's activities related to solar photovoltaic energy, visit the Solar Photovoltaic Energy and Solar Photovoltaic Energy in Buildings sections of the website.

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