Generally, home solar power systems in Alberta connect to the grid through a bi-directional meter. Solar power is only available when there is direct sunlight on a home’s solar array. During the evenings or when there is little to no sun, connection to the grid ensures a household’s electrical needs are met without interruption.
If more solar power is generated than is being used, that excess power is sold to the grid at a homeowner’s electricity rate creating a micro-generation credit on their utility bill. Micro-generation credits are only available for grid-connected home solar power systems.
Conversely, if a home’s energy needs are greater than what is being generated by the solar power system, electricity is drawn from the grid and the homeowner is charged at their current electricity rate.
Connecting to the grid adds reliability to a home solar power system, as power is instantly available when it’s needed. However, batteries can be installed to store solar power that is not immediately consumed, for use at night or at times when there is not enough solar power to meet a household’s immediate needs. Batteries can be part of both grid-connected and off-grid home solar power systems.
Batteries add significant cost to a home solar installation, which is why many homeowners choose to only install a grid-connected solution. ENMAX works with qualified solar installers that offer grid-connected and battery storage systems.
Most homes in Alberta are connected to the grid, even if their home solar power systems have battery storage. A fully off-grid home solar power system requires careful consideration of many factors. Homeowners should discuss this option with a qualified solar installer before making a decision.
Solar power requires direct sunlight on a solar array. When sunlight hits a solar array, the solar cells absorb the light energy and turn it into electrical current. The installed inverter changes the direct current (DC) produced by the solar cells into alternating current (AC) for use in the home.
The amount of energy generated by a home solar power system depends on a variety of factors, including the number of solar modules installed and the hours of usable sunlight a solar array receives.
If your system generates more electricity than you use, the extra power will be sent to the grid and your account will be credited at your current electricity rate.
Generally, solar power systems in Alberta remain connected to the grid through a bidirectional meter. This way, you can send any excess energy produced to the grid, while also ensuring you have grid-supplied electricity during the night, or when sunlight is limited.
The amount of energy generated by your solar power system depends on a variety of factors, including the number of solar modules you install, the hours of usable sunlight you receive and your energy needs. Your home solar power system is sized based on your energy consumption. You cannot have a home solar power system with the capacity to generate more electricity than is used by your household.
In Alberta, the Micro-generation Regulation stipulates that customers can generate enough power to meet some or all of their annual electricity consumption, but not more. When a customer generates more power than they need at any given moment, they’ll receive a credit on their bill from their retailer—at their electricity rate—for every kWh sent back to the grid.
Solar is a great choice for those whose homes meet a simple list of criteria. The following checklist can help determine if solar is right for you:
If you believe solar could work for you, complete our contact form and ENMAX Energy can connect you with a qualified solar installer.
General solar system, micro-generation credit and billing questions:
1-877-571-7111 (Outside Alberta)
Current ENMAX solar lease customers:
ENMAX Power micro-generation applications:
ENMAX Power meter exchanges or general metering inquiries:
Customers are free to purchase natural gas services or electricity services from a retailer of their choice. For a list of retailers, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).