Solar Energy

British Columbia’s increasing energy requirements and ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction and clean energy targets require greater investment and innovation in the areas of clean and renewable energy and technologies. B.C. has abundant renewable energy sources, a natural advantage for new opportunities to meet the province’s growing energy demands with clean, renewable power.

Government is working with other agencies to maximize opportunities to develop, deploy and export B.C.’s clean and renewable energy technologies in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner.

A sustainable renewable energy option in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) is solar energy. Solar energy comes from the light and radiant heat of the sun. Solar is the most plentiful form of energy on the planet, although it is highly diffuse. Solar technologies are a renewable energy source ideal for the following uses:

  • electricity production using concentrating thermal or photovoltaic technologies;
  • space and water heating; and
  • space cooling.

Overall, B.C. enjoys better solar energy resources than world solar leaders Germany and Japan. Solar resources are good in most areas of the province and best in the Thompson-Okanagan region.

Solar energy can:

  • Provide an unlimited supply of energy – every day the earth receives more energy from the sun than the earth uses in a year;
  • Provide a strong energy resource in most areas of the Province;
  • Act as a stand-alone energy source;
  • Displace the use of electricity and fossil fuels resulting in a proportional decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

Photovoltaic Potential

Photovoltaics is the name of a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon commonly studied in physics. The photovoltaic system employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells to supply usable solar power.

Photovoltaic Potential - Kamloops (kWh/kW)


South-facing vertical (tilt=90°)

South-facing, tilt=latitude

South-facing, tilt=lat+15°

South-facing, tilt=lat-15°



































































Currently, leading examples of solar energy as an alternative energy source throughout the TNRD are an extensive solar hot water system at the Thompson Rivers University, as well as a number of residential house owners who have opted for this residential add on. Solar power systems are currently being used at School District No. 73 facilities and a few of the remote TNRD Eco-Depot Sites. Given the limited number of solar energy projects taking place in the TNRD, as well as an environment suitable for the development of solar energy systems, the potential to develop a sustainable solar energy sector in the region is great.

Clean Development Mechanism

The Clean Development Mechanism, established by the Kyoto Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction commitment under the Protocol to implement an emission reduction project in developing countries. These projects can earn certified emission reduction credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Protocol targets.

The mechanism is seen by many as a trailblazer. It is the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset instrument, CERs.

A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers.

The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.

Carbon Neutrality and the Province of B.C.

In 2007, recognizing that climate change is one of the most critical issues facing our generation, the provincial government created the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. The Act committed that B.C. reduce greenhouse gas pollution in line with internationally agreed to targets of 33% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Further to this, the Act committed to a carbon neutral public sector by 2010.

In 2008, B.C. also released the Climate Action Plan – outlining how B.C. would foster action across all sectors.

Carbon neutrality is about achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions – recognizing that government is responsible for 100 per cent of the carbon pollution it generates.

A key benefit to industry and business proponents that use solar energy as a means to produce electricity (photovoltaics) is the opportunity to sell greenhouse gas (carbon) emission offsets to the provincial government. Further information on the qualifications for an offset project development opportunity can be found here.

BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is the legislative body responsible for Electricity and Alternative Energy Division within the province and implementing the BC Energy Plan: a Vision for Clean Energy Leadership. The BC Energy Plan was designed to help British Columbia reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its long-term competitiveness and electricity self-sufficiency. The plan intends to put British Columbia at the forefront of environmental and economic leadership through the production of clean and renewable energy to meet the needs of the provincial economy.

The Electricity and Alternative Energy Division facilitates thriving, competitive, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible electricity, alternative energy and energy efficiency sectors for the benefit of British Columbians. The Division is responsible for:

  • Legislation, policies and programs to support all forms of electrical power generation and transmission;
  • Province-wide energy conservation and efficiency measures;
  • Alternative energy development;
  • Renewable and Low Carbon Transportation Fuels;
  • Policy advice and direction to electrical utilities and their regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission;
  • Fostering private sector investment in new electricity resources;
  • Operational policy support for independent power producers; and
  • The LiveSmart BC Energy: Efficiency Incentive Program.

Innovative Clean Energy Fund

British Columbia's increasing energy requirements and its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction and clean energy targets require greater investment and innovation in the area of alternative energy by both the public and private sector.

To lead this effort, the government has established an Innovative Clean Energy Fund of $25 million to help promising clean power technology projects succeed. The fund has been established through a small charge on energy utilities.

Proponents of projects that will be supported through the fund are encouraged to seek additional contributions from other sources. Government's new Innovative Clean Energy Fund will help make B.C. a world leader in alternative energy and power technology. It will solve some of B.C.'s pressing energy challenges, protect our environment, help grow the economy, position the province as the place international customers turn to for key energy and environmental solutions, and assist B.C. based companies to showcase their products to global markets.


Canadian Solar Industries Association

The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) is a national, not-for-profit, trade association that represents the solar energy industry throughout Canada. Since 1992, CanSIA has worked, on behalf of its membership, to develop a strong, efficient, ethical and professional Canadian solar energy industry with capacity to provide innovative solar energy solutions and to play a major role in the global transition to a sustainable, clean-energy future.

CanSIA provides education and networking opportunities for members, researches and develops renewable energy policy options for different levels of Canada’s government and implements a broad range of communications activities on solar energy.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association

The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) officially launched in the summer of 2004. It concerns itself with the sustainable use and production of energy in B.C.

The BCSEA is an effective and respected advocate on B.C.’s energy sector. Its regional chapters and hundreds of provincial members advance informed and progressive perspectives in their own communities as they champion best policies in Victoria, B.C. and Ottawa, ON.

The BCSEA frequently share their educational and research work with governments at all levels, calling for policies–-like energy efficiency incentive programs, the carbon tax, and greenhouse gas-free electricity generation-–that are helping them realize their potential. The BCSEA participates in regulatory reviews of BC Hydro’s energy plans, bringing expert evidence to prove the advantages of conservation and other sustainable solutions.

The activities of the BCSEA are made possible by the volunteer effort of its individual members. Members are empowered to develop new initiatives and shape the direction of the organization. Organization members have the opportunity to raise their profile in the province and further the business goals of their organization.

The BCSEA website provides useful information on renewable energy technologies, a sustainable energy directory, and access to membership.

Photovoltaic Energy Applied Research Lab (PEARL)

In response to a growing demand in British Columbia for electricity generated from renewable resources, and to the rapid growth of the Canadian photovoltaic industry, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Technology Centre launched its Photovoltaic Energy Applied Research Lab (PEARL). Clients of the lab benefit from the research team's extensive expertise in mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering and the wide range of services offered.

Photovoltaic (PV) modules, or solar panels, collect light from the sun and convert it to electricity. The electricity can be used immediately or stored in batteries for later use. The energy can even be fed directly into the electric power grid with electronic devices called inverters. Recent advances in photovoltaic technology are making solar electricity more practical.

The PEARL conducts all aspects of photovoltaic system research, from the design and testing of individual photovoltaic system components to the installation and commissioning of large photovoltaic systems.

Solar and Sustainable Energy Society of Canada Inc.

The Solar and Sustainable Energy Society of Canada Inc. (SESCI) is a national charitable organization that promotes solar and sustainable energy in Canada.  SESCI is an organization of professionals, researchers and individuals with a common vision for a sustainable energy future in Canada.

SESCI is a platform for technology awareness, policy promotion and solar know-how – for members and for the Canadian public.  SESCI’s role is to:

  • Advance the adoption of solar and sustainable energy in Canada;
  • Be a reliable and objective source of technical and policy information;
  • Be a focal point for sustainable and solar energy discussion and implementation; and
  • Collaborate internationally as the Canadian chapter of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)




Core Sunlighting Illumination System

The Core Sunlighting Illumination System, developed at the University of British Columbia, and under commercialization by SunCentral Inc., provides sunlight to the core of multi-floor office buildings. The system collects sunlight with a series of mirror and redirects and concentrates that sunlight indoors, thereby substantially reducing the need for electric lighting. The system integrates readily into standard architectural designs for commercial buildings. The technology is supported by funding from the B.C. Innovative Clean Energy Fund and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and is being developed in partnership with a number of industry, government and academic partners.

Carmanah Technologies Corporation

Carmanah is a leading provider of stand-alone solar-powered LED lights and beacons, and solar power systems for industrial applications worldwide. Through a portfolio of proprietary technologies, and partnerships with many of the world's leading component suppliers, Carmanah offers innovative products that help set the industry standard in solar technology for a range of industrial applications.

As one of the most trusted names in solar technology, Carmanah has earned a reputation for delivering strong and effective products for industrial applications worldwide. Industry proven to perform reliably in some of the world's harshest environments, Carmanah solar LED lights and solar power systems provide a durable, dependable and cost effective energy alternative.

Day4 Energy Inc.

Day4 Energy Inc. is a Vancouver-based solar energy company formed in 2001 to revolutionize solar power use in industrial, commercial, utility, and residential power generation.

Day4 is dedicated to producing affordable and efficient photovoltaic solutions that will enable photovoltaic systems to grow to occupy a significant part of the world's electrical generation infrastructure.

With a management team strong in science and business, Day4Energy works with industry partners to commercialize next generation Residential & Commercial power generation products based on Day4 proprietary technology.

Day4 Energy has developed new photovoltaic technology that will significantly reduce the cost of photovoltaics to the end-user, making future technology today's reality.

Swiss Solar Tech Ltd.

Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. is a leading solar installer and a private held British Columbia company incorporated in 2001 based in Summerland, B.C. Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. was formed for the purpose of offering solar water heating including solar pool heating, solar photovoltaics for electricity and heat recovery systems to the government, institutional and commercial business sector as well as to private home owners.

Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. provides high efficient heating and cooling systems by combining solar thermal with ground-source heat pumps, air to water pumps, heat recovery systems and geothermal ground loops. These energy efficient techniques and technologies guarantee cost effective energy savings for commercial structures such as hotels, resorts and multi-residential buildings.

Terratek Energy Solutions Inc.

Terratek Energy Solutions is a leading renewable energy company in B.C. Terratek specializes in consultation, design and installation of solar thermal (hot water), solar photovoltaic (electric), wind energy, geothermal systems and electric car charging stations. Terratek also offers energy monitoring solutions for purchase. Serving Southwest B.C. including all of Victoria and Vancouver Island, Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and the Okanagan, Terratek has worked with hundreds of homeowners, over 30 schools and multiple commercial and municipal clients.

National Photovoltaic Construction Partnership

The National Photovoltaic Construction Partnership’s (NPCP) mission is to address the challenge of global warming and grow strong North American jobs through innovation. The NPCP is dedicated to building lasting and meaningful alliances between the business, labor, and environmental communities through investment in clean, renewable, domestically produced solar and wind energy.

United Power Ltd.

United Power Ltd. is a Trades-Prime Contractor involved in commercial and industrial lighting, instrumentation, energy management systems, high voltage substations, line work, general maintenance and the supply and installation of renewable energy products such as photovoltaics and wind turbines.

United Power Ltd. had an interesting start in renewable energy in 1983 when the company was tasked with creating a working solar street light in Burnaby, B.C. Up to the challenge, United Power Ltd. designed, built and operated a full size solar street lamp from 1983-1991. Since then, United Power Ltd. has gone on to install solar systems at the Northern British Columbia Airport plus a series of installations at BCIT. United Power Ltd.

United Power Ltd. then went on to form the National Photovoltaic Construction Partnership (NPCP) in 2000 and have gone on to successfully supply and install over 500+ photovoltaic systems across the United States and Canada. With offices in Vancouver, B.C. and New York, NY, NPCPLLC supports both the Western and Eastern coasts of North America.