Power is measured in watts. A kilowatt (kW) is 1,000 watts of power. A megawatt (MW) is 1 million watts of power. Watts measure the rate of power at a moment in time.
Kilowatt-hours (kWh) measure the amount of energy used over a specific time period, in kilowatts per hour. Electricity used for powering home electronics and small or large appliances, whether for just a few seconds or for most of the day, is measured in kilowatt-hours.
Total electricity consumption for a home appears as kilowatt-hours on a monthly utility bill, for example, 600 kWh. A homeowner is responsible to pay for this usage at their current electricity rate, usually shown as cents/kWh.
Likewise, micro-generation from a home solar power system appears on a monthly utility bill as kilowatt-hours. When it occurs, micro-generation shows as a credit on a utility bill as cents/kWh.
The exact number of modules or panels required for a home solar power system depends on a household’s annual energy consumption, the amount of sunlight a home receives, available roof space, and the size or power of each solar module (in watts), among other considerations.
Solar power systems are sold as a measure of the capacity of energy they can generate in kilowatts, for example, a 5-kW system. This means that all the solar modules or panels together add up to 5 kW. This could look like a system of 20 solar modules, each with 250-watts of power: 250 W x 20 modules = 5,000 W or 5 kW.
The size of the solar power system needed depends on how many kWh of electricity a home uses in a year and by how much a homeowner is looking to offset their usage from the grid. The greater the energy requirements, the larger the solar power system needed to offset this usage.
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.
The below resources can help if you’re ready to take the next step.
Looking for ways to help offset the cost of adding solar to your home?
Check the Alberta solar directory for a solar provider in your area that meets your needs.
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).
For new services, transfers or renewals, please call 310-2010 or click here to self serve online.