A great benefit of solar systems as an investment is their economics. The savings on the electricity costs until the payback period, and then the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) they offer in the form of a flat and low rate of electricity.
We are always in search of ways to help improve the economics of systems to the system owner’s advantage. One way to do this is to use different electricity rates.
Alberta has a deregulated energy market. While there are a few Wire Service Providers serving the electric grid, consumers are free to choose their own energy retailers. This applies to both electricity and gas. Wire Service Providers such as Enmax and Fortis Alberta also act as energy retailers. However, smaller independent energy retailers can typically offer much betters rates and options.
Spot Power is one such Energy Marketer. They have launched an amazing program specifically aimed at solar micro-generators in order to help promote the deployment of solar systems. We are Spot Power’s Marketing Associate, and we are able to help any customer that chooses to take advantage of their great program throughout the process. Signing up for their rates is pretty easy, there is no contract to sign and you can always cancel with 10 days notice in case you are not happy with the rates.
Spot Power has launched the Solar Club!
This new and improved program provides a package of value-added benefits including:
- Special Rates: Choose from exclusive electricity rates designed specifically for solar micro-generators and earn 6.49 ¢/kWh or 18.75 ¢/kWh on electricity exported to the grid.
- Flexible Rate Plans: Switch between rates with just 10 days notice and no penalty fees to accommodate seasonal generation fluctuations.
- Earn Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on all energy imported from the grid on an annual basis.
- Achieve 30% Renewable Energy: to help the province realize its goal of 30% renewable energy by 2030, we will offset 30% of the electricity YOU import from the grid, FREE, through our purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
- Coming Soon: new and improved suite of reports.
Joining the Club is easy, existing customers just need to submit a rate change via My Account and choose either our Solar Club High Export Rate of 18.75 ¢/kWh (if you are exporting more electricity to the grid than you are importing) or our Low Export Rate of 6.49 ¢/kWh (if you are importing more electricity from the grid than you are exporting). New customers simply need to sign up and choose either of our solar club rates. Additionally, as part of our commitment to our local community, to qualify for the Solar Club, customers need to simply make a donation to their local food bank at their convenience.
Note: as per the government’s Micro-generation Regulation, the same rate applies to both imports and exports.
Remember: you can switch between these two rates at any time, penalty free, by giving 10 days notice.
The great advantage of being part of the Solar Club is the ability to switch between rates during different seasons! When your system’s generation is less than your consumption, you should be on the Low Export Rate of 6.49 ¢/kWh. And during summer months when the system’s production is higher than the site’s consumption, you should switch to be on the High Export Rate of 18.75 ¢/kWh.
The sample calculations below clearly demonstrate how switching the rates works to the advantage of the consumer in an annual period. They represent 3 different scenarios: annual system generation at 90%, 83% and 75% of site consumption, respectively. The original production and consumption values (at 90%) belong to a system we have designed. A system designed to generate 100% of site consumption will be clearly at an advantage (which is why that scenario was not explored).
Note: These calculations ONLY include portions of the cost relating to electricity consumption. They DO NOT include the fixed portions of the electricity bill. They also include portions of the consumption cost relating to distribution and transmission charges.
It is evident from these calculations that no matter the level of system production, switching between these two available rates will result in significantly lower annual electricity costs. And if the system is sized to generate more than 80% of the site’s consumption, there will be a credit on the bill at the end of the year!
Please note that these calculations do NOT include the 5% cash back on the imported electricity. So these values have room to be improved even further in your favour!
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