What is Grid-Tie Solar?
It is becoming increasingly profitable for Albertans to generate their own electricity and sell it to the grid, utilizing the renewable energy sources on available right on their property. Grid-tie eliminates the large cost associated with the batteries used to store solar energy.
How Grid-Tied Solar Power Works
Sunlight is captured via solar cells in a solar panel/module which generates an electrical current. The electricity is then converted from DC to AC using an inverter. This AC electricity is then transmitted to the building’s distribution panel which decreases the power drawn from the grid. In the summer months and on sunnier days, excess power is created and is exported back to the “grid”. In this same way you are also able to access standard power from the grid on cloudy or winter days.
A two-way meter measures the amount of energy exported and imported from your home and charges you accordingly. This decreases your consumption of grid energy and in addition, you receive credit and payment for the excess energy you sold back to the grid at the same rate at which you are charged. Therefore, you are able to compensate your rising utility rates without the installation of batteries to store your solar energy.
Government Grant Options
There is currently funding for farmers for grid-tie solar options through the On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics in the Growing Forward 2 program. A maximum of 100 kW of solar PV or capacity $50,000 per applicant is available through the program. You can find more information on this on the website at: http://www.growingforward.alberta.ca/Programs/index.htm?contentId=ON_FARM_SOLAR_PRG&useSecondary=true
Foothills Forage will be hosting a one-day workshop will address this grid tie solar opportunity in an UNBIASED environment and cover solar electric system siting, installation, permitting process and economics. This will be March 23, 2017 in Okotoks. (More Info Here) There will also be information available on the grants currently available for this program through the Alberta government. The program is geared towards farmers, though anyone is welcome to attend.
Rob Harlan will be speaking at the event. Rob is the Executive Director of the Solar Energy Society of Alberta. He has taught workshops in solar technologies in both Canada and the U.S. and is highly respected in his field with over 12 years in designing and installing solar systems.
This workshop is hosted by two non-profit organizations; the Foothills Forage & Grazing Association (FFGA) and the Solar Energy Society of Alberta. The Foothills Forage works to provide an innovative network of information for farmers and ranchers in southern Alberta through demonstration projects, events, workshops, and our newsletter, website, and social media. The Solar Energy Society of Alberta (www.solaralberta.ca) is an educational organization, which serves as a solar energy resource for governments, educational institutions and the public at large.
Growing Forward 2 Solar PV Grant Funding
Alberta Solar Providers Directory
Managing Expectations with Solar PV Technology
Solar PV Financial Calculator
Alberta Utility Commission Info on Microgeneration
By: Rachel McLean, Foothills Forage & Grazing Association
Solar Energy Society of Alberta
Government of Alberta