Solar Photovoltaics

This page presents an overview of the Canadian Solar PV market activity from 1995 to 2005 and 2006 to 2011 and projection to 2025.

Resources from other markets can be found at the foot of this page.

The Canadian Solar Photovoltaic Market: 

The Canadian market for Solar Photovoltaics (PV) has developed steadily over the past decades and swiftly over the past years.

1995 to 2005: From Kilowatts to Megawatts

During the period 1995 to 2005:

  • The Canadian market for Solar  PV grew at an average annual  rate of 28%.
  • Cumulative installed capacity of  Solar PV in Canada increasing  eleven-fold (from 1.5 MW at the  beginning of 1995 to 16.5 MW at the end of 2005).


Market milestones achieved during this period included:

  • Annual installed capacity surpassing 1 MW in 1998 for the  first time and 2 MW in 2004.

The market was dominated by remote and off-grid applications while demand for grid-tied applications fluctuated greatly year-to-year:

  • Off-grid market was on average 100 times larger between 1995 and 2000 and fifty times larger between 2000 and 2005 than grid-tied.
  • Annual growth in the grid-tied market was not experienced three years consecutively until 2005.
2006 to 2011: Canadian Grid-Tied Market is Born

During the period 2006 to 2011, evolving energy priorities, growing consumer awareness and rapidly decreasing costs triggered major market growth:  
  • Market grew on average by 2.8 times per year, grid-tied by 5.75 and off-grid by 1.33.

2009 was an important year for the Canadian Solar industry with many market milestones being achieved. It was the first year that:

  • Annual market size reached tens of MWs.
  • The grid-tied market was larger than the off-grid.
  • Canada’s first solar park in was completed.
  • The province of Ontario leapt onto the solar world stage from obscurity as the 3rd largest market in North America (elevated to 2nd in 2010).

Between 1995 and 2011, the Canadian solar energy industry developed significant capacity and momentum in response to the accelerating transition to a clean energy future.

1995 to 2011: Summary

A major driver for market growth for Solar PV has been, and will continue to be rapid cost reductions for this technology.  The cost of Solar PV modules in Canada decreased at an average annual decline of 14% between 2000 and 2005 and continued supply chain development in Canada and abroad is expected to have reduced costs by a further 2.5 times by 2012 (average annual reduction >10%).

2011 to 2025: Established to Mainstream

During the period 2011 to 2025, CanSIA forecasts that the Canadian Solar PV market will continue to experience steady growth increasing from less than 500 MW per year between 2011 and 2015 to up to:

  • 1,000 MW per year 2016 to 2020.
  • 1,500 MW per year 2021 to 2025.

Contracts awarded up to 2011 by the province of Ontario’s now retired Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program and current Feed In Tariff program are expected to drive the Canadian market for Solar Photovoltaics until 2015.

Financial and non-financial incentive policy instruments under consideration and development in a number of other Canadian municipalities, provinces and territories and at the federal government level are expected to gradually shift the focus from the Ontario Solar PV market until solar PV become a mainstream technology across Canada.

Ontario is expected to remain a globally and nationally significant market for Solar PV deployment and manufacturing with over 30 solar module and inverter manufacturers present in the province as of 2011.

Annual Grid Tied and Off-Grid Canadian Solar Photovoltaic Market 1995 to 2011


Past studies are provided below:

National Survey Report of PV Power Application in Canada 2009, NRCan / IEA

National Survey Report of PV Power Application in Canada 2008, NRCan / IEA

North America

The IREC "US Solar Market Trends 2010" report can be downloaded here.


The International Energy Agency Roadmap for Solar Photovoltaics can be downloaded here.