There’s a persistent myth circulating about solar energy in Southern Ontario – that there simply isn’t enough sunshine to make investing in solar panels worthwhile. Contrary to what some may say, Southern Ontario receives ample sunlight, making it an optimal location for solar panel installations. Ontario generally receives, on average, 3 to 4.5 peak sun hours per day, depending on the time of the year and geographical location. The data speaks for Southern Ontario cities is even higher! Let’s look at the numbers and the top reasons harnessing the power of the sun has never made more sense.

Rule of thumb with modern solar panels – if your property receives an average of four peak sun hours per day – you are a perfect candidate to start saving on energy costs with solar panels. A peak sun hour is a one-hour period during which sunlight (solar irradiance) generates 1,000 watts (equivalent to 1 kilowatt) of energy per square meter of surface area.

For example, if your home receives 500 W/m2 of solar irradiance between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., those two hours combined would be considered one peak sun hour.

What does this mean if you live (for example) in Toronto or Ottawa or London?

Toronto: It’s sunny here over 46% of all daylight hours, and in 2023, it experienced approximately 2,038 hours of sunshine annually*. Its daily average was 5.1 sun hours per day. That’s more than enough to make your solar panels happy!

Ottawa: The capital region is also quite sunny and gets approximately 1,986 hours of sunshine yearly*, with an average of about 5.0 sun hours per day. Again, that consistent sunshine makes Ottawa an ideal location for harnessing solar power.

London: With approximately 1,940 hours of sunshine per year, London may receive slightly fewer sunny days compared to other cities in Southern Ontario. However, at an average of 4.8 sun hours per day throughout the entire year it still receives enough sunlight to make solar panel installations viable and cost-effective.

(*Stats are from Environment Canada,, and

Now, let's address some of the other reasons the myth that "there isn't enough sun in Southern Ontario" persists and why it's just that – a myth:

The myth likely stems from misunderstanding how solar energy works. While it’s true that some regions receive more sunlight than others, solar panels can still generate electricity even on cloudy or overcast days. Modern, high-quality solar panels, like the Otter uses, don’t require direct sunlight to function; they can harness diffuse sunlight and still produce electricity, albeit at a slightly lower efficiency.

Over the past few years, in particular, advancements in solar technology have significantly improved the efficiency and performance of solar panels. Today’s solar panels are more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, allowing them to operate effectively even in less-than-ideal conditions. And remember, in Ontario, we have IDEAL conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, solar panels can still generate electricity during periods of low light or when covered with snow. While snow accumulation may temporarily reduce solar panel output, it typically melts relatively quickly due to the panels’ dark surface, and they are so smooth that snow slides easily off them – especially if the panels are installed at an angle. High-quality PV panels (like the solar panels Otter Energy uses) can withstand the weight of snow without any issue. Lastly – and many don’t know this – solar panels are actually slightly more efficient in colder temperatures. Therefore, the cold winter temperatures in Ontario can improve the performance of a solar power system.

Ontario’s Net Metering Program enables homeowners and businesses to earn credits for excess energy generated by their solar panels. These credits can offset electricity bills or be sold back to the grid, providing a financial incentive to invest in solar energy regardless of the region’s sunlight levels, which, as we’ve shown above, are optimal!

In conclusion, the myth that “there isn’t enough sun in Southern Ontario” is just that – a myth. With ample sunshine throughout the year, combined with advancements in solar technology and financial incentives, Southern Ontario is, in fact, an ideal location for solar panel installations. No matter where you are in Ontario, harnessing solar power can lead to significant energy savings, massive reductions in operating costs, and a reduction in harmful emissions, and it is a predictable, sustainable source of energy for all. Don’t let misconceptions hold you back – embrace the power of solar energy today.

otter energy team

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