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Measuring solar power and sizing home solar

Measuring solar power

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.

Sizing home solar power systems

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. Th​e 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.​​​​​

Am I a candidate for solar?

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:​

I’m interested in adding solar to my home.

If you believe solar could work for you, complete our contact form and ENMAX Energy can connect you with a qualified solar installer.

Get started with solar

Solar contacts

General solar system, micro-generation credit and billing questions:

Phone: 310-2010 or
1-877-571-7111
(Outside Alberta)

Current ENMAX solar lease customers:

solarsupport@enmax.com

ENMAX Power micro-​generation applications:

DERConnect@enmax.com

ENMAX Power meter exchanges or general metering inquiries:

TRAC@enmax.com


For solar installers looking to work with ENMAX Power, visit our Distributed Generation page​​​

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).

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