How solar power-friendly is your home? New Saskatoon solar mapping tool shows you

A new map tool from the City of Saskatoon will help residents determine how suitable their house is for solar panels, and how much energy the panels could potentially produce.

MyHEAT SOLAR is the 1st energy-conscious tool expected from city in 2023

solar panel in a yard beside a home
City of Saskatoon is encouraging solar panel use with new map tool that shows the savings homeowners might realize over a span of more than two decades.. (Oscar Baker III/CBC)

A new mapping tool launched by the City of Saskatoon will help homeowners identify how they could use solar energy to power their homes.

MyHEAT SOLAR uses data from Google Maps and Google's Project Sunroof to estimate savings a homeowner might realize over a 25-year life span, including the upfront costs of installing solar panels.

"I think it's really helpful to see that even though there's there is a really high upfront cost for solar, that it's possible to pay that back and actually make money over the life of the solar panel," said Amber Weckworth, manager of climate strategy and data with the city's sustainability department.

The tool allows residents to click on their home to see how many hours of sunlight it receives annually on average ,and how much power solar panels could generate.

It also estimates cost savings through questions such as the direction the panels will be facing and how much space the roof provides.

While the tool is as accurate as possible, she says, it's based on assumptions and should be considered a first step.

Weckworth recommends calling solar providers to get a better estimate, and to contact SaskPower or Saskatoon Light and Power to begin a net metering program.

"We are excited to join cities across Canada, like Edmonton, Fredericton, and London [Ont.] in the use of this tool," Jeanna South, the city's director of ustainability, said in a statement.

The map tool is the first of several energy-minded renovation tools Saskatoon is expected to launch through 2023.