Is Solar Energy the Solution to Alberta’s Ever-Rising Electricity Bills?

alberta electricity bills

“Why are my electric bills so high?” is a question that more and more Albertans are asking when they receive their monthly bills, and it’s for good reason. Alberta’s electricity rates have been rising consistently for the past two years. 

Since the provincial government removed the price cap for Albertans with access to electricity plans with the regulated-rate option (RRO) back in the fall of 2019, power prices have been climbing consistently. As a result, regulated rates have gone up from an average of 2.88 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), to around 17 cents per kWh as of November 2022.

With higher inflation on other daily items and services, many Albertans are looking for options to cut down on utility expenses. For those looking to save money on Alberta electricity bills, solar may be a suitable option.

How Solar Panels Can Help You Lower Your Alberta Electricity Bills

Once the solar panels are installed, they absorb sunlight energy through their photovoltaic (PV) cells and turn it into electricity that will start powering your home alongside your regular grid electricity service. In addition to the installation of the solar panels, the homeowner will also have a bi-directional meter installed, where they’ll be able to see the amount of solar energy that their panels produce.

Sometime after the installation (in sunny Alberta this can be a matter of a few weeks) the energy production of the solar panels will start to surpass your home requirements, and that excess energy will be exported. This process is regulated by the Alberta Micro-Generation Program, hence you’ll become a micro-generator. 

Following the program regulations, your energy company will automatically credit your account against the electricity consumed during the night or at periods when the energy used by the home exceeds what the solar system is producing. This process is called net billing.

As a result, you will be producing your own power with the solar panels, gradually reducing your dependency from grid-electricity, receiving monthly credits for your grid-energy consumption, and getting lower electricity bills every month. 

The following graph illustrates how the process works:

alberta electricity bills
Source: Utilities Consumer Advocate

“Selling Back to the Grid”: How Investing in Solar Starts Paying Itself

Depending on the size of your solar system and your daily electricity needs, you will start producing enough energy to consistently power your home almost immediately.  Over time, the excess energy your solar system produces and sends back to the grid will reduce your bills consistently by using the credits you receive to offset your grid consumption. You’ll have to negotiate the credit rates you’ll receive with your electricity retailer beforehand.

This process of “selling back to the grid” to pay less and less in electricity bills over the years, is what will pay for your solar system investment. On average, most homeowners see the financial break-even between 10 to 15 years. Plus, you get the extra cash in your pocket from reduced or eliminated utility bills right away.

Beyond Paying Less in Electricity Bills

Going solar in Alberta is an investment that does more than save you money on electricity in the long haul. It’s low-maintenance, it reduces your carbon footprint, increases your home’s market value, and it’s a reliable energy source that will help you whenever grid-electricity is not available. If you want to become a micro-generator and start saving on electricity bills in Alberta, contact us to get a free consultation.