Solar Photovoltaics in Quebec: Competitive with Wind and Hydro by 2030

EIN Nergica 400

May 13, 2021

As Quebec forges ahead in its energy transition and ramps up the electrification of its economy, energy needs continue to rise and the province is anticipating an energy shortfall by 2026. In this context, renewable energy research and innovation centre Nergica is publishing today the first in-depth study to focus on the potential of the solar energy sector in Quebec: Solar Photovoltaics in the Quebec Energy Mix – Analysis and Outlook. Sustainable, flexible and competitive, solar photovoltaics (PV) has expanded substantially throughout the world in recent years, leading to an 85% drop in production costs between 2010 and 2020. PV could therefore be developed to account for a greater slice of Quebec’s energy portfolio.

During the release, Nergica will present the conclusions and recommendations of the study. Afterwards, ten experts, including representatives of Dunsky Energy Consulting, Hydro-Québec, Innergex, Énergir and Natural Resources Canada, will gather to discuss the future of the solar PV sector in Quebec through thematic panels.

Solar power: part of the solution

Throughout the world, solar PV energy is gaining momentum. Rising energy demand combined with the decarbonation of the economy, technological advances and the falling costs of renewable energy make solar increasingly competitive and popular around the globe. In 2019, cumulative installed capacity of solar PV was approximately 578 GW and represented roughly 23% of global renewable energy production. This energy represents an additional tool for Quebec’s energy transition, as it offers noteworthy economic and energy benefits in a number of sectors, including the electrification of off-grid networks as well as residential and commercial self-generation.

“Solar PV production costs have dropped significantly between 2010 and 2020, making it a competitive and consequently all the more attractive form of energy for Quebec. In fact, by 2030, solar will be comparable if not cheaper than other renewable energy technologies available in Quebec.  Since 2018, certain PV installations in the residential sector have reached parity with the electricity rates offered by Hydro-Québec. Solar is considerably easier to deploy and operate than other resources such as hydro or wind, which require much more complex installations and logistics. A solar panel can easily be installed on the roof of one’s home or in the Far North, where other types of energy are less accessible,” argues Karim Belmokhtar, Nergica’s senior project manager for research and innovation.

“Quebec enjoys solar irradiation levels higher than those of Germany, which as of 2019 ranked 4th globally amongst solar-producing nations. Paired with hydroelectricity and wind power, solar PV could even enable Quebec to reach its GHG reduction target of 37.5% below 1990 levels by 2030 while at the same time positioning the province as a North American leader in renewable energy. With a total capacity of 6.25 MW as of 2019, PV represents less than 1% of Quebec’s energy mix. We have the resources to undertake a major solar build-out: now we must give ourselves the tools to develop this sector. To do so, we must notably emphasize the importance of supporting and developing Quebec’s solar industry through innovation and support for businesses,” explains Nergica GM Frédéric Côté.     

Thematic panels: 10 experts discuss the future of solar PV in Quebec

As part of the launch of the study, ten experts will gather for today’s Solar Photovoltaics in Quebec event, a series of three thematic panels aiming to stimulate discussion of the future of Quebec’s solar PV sector as a key component in the province’s energy transition. 

“We decided to bring together experts the likes of Philippe Dunsky, Josée Pilon, Yves Poissant, Gabriel Durany or Patrick Goulet to determine what role solar should play in a transitioning Quebec. What are the challenges and opportunities of a solar build-out in Quebec? What is the ideal role of solar in Quebec today, in 2030, or in 2050? These questions will be addressed in today’s three thematic panels,” points out Karim Belmokhtar, Nergica’s senior project manager for research and innovation.

For further details on the event or to register for Solar Photovoltaics in Quebec go HERE.

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