Saskatchewan has a world-class solar potential. Actually Regina and Saskatoon’s solar potential are higher than Calgary and Edmonton. There are two ways to go solar in Saskatchewan (going off the grid is the third way), namely net metering and the Small Power Producers Program. Both programs offer Saskatchewan homeowners, businesses, farmers and developers the opportunity to reduce their living and operating costs by investing in green and local power generation. Let’s look at solar net metering in Saskatchewan.
Net-metering is a type of settlement that many utilities use to credit solar generators for their solar energy. It equates the energy a service imports from the grid to the solar energy that is exported to it. So for example if over a month a home consumed 500kilowatt-hours of electrical energy (kWh) from the grid and exported 100kWh, then the homeowners will only be charged 400kWh. Therefore the solar power system generates revenue at the same rate as to which Saskpower charges for consumption. These rates are printed on the bill and are available on Saskpower’s website. Participants of the program can decide the size of the system based on their goals, budget, and other aspects.
Saskpower is also offering a 20% rebate on cost of installation up to $20,000. Let’s look at an example of how a solar power system will perform in Saskatchewan.
Example of Solar Net Metering in Saskatchewan
Let’s say a shop consumes about 2,000 kWh per month and its owner is considering installing solar on the shop’s roof. The owner lives in an urban area and so their Small Commercial Rates incur 13.2 cents per kWh for the first 14,500kWh consumed per month, so they pay about $400 per month for their energy consumption.
The owner is considering installing a six thousand watt system (or three kilowatt for short) to take up half the available viable roof space. The system is expected to produce an average 630kWh per month. This means that on an average month their consumption will be reduced to 1,370kWh.
The system will produce 630kWh of solar energy every month which will either feed the shop’s loads or go to the grid to do useful work elsewhere in the neighbourhood. In either case the energy generated effectively reduces the shop’s consumption at the consumption rate of 13.4c/kWh, which means the owner will save an average $84 per month or $1,000 per year.
The system’s payback depends essentially on three factors 1)how much sunlight the system receives 2) cost of installing the system, 3) future cost of energy. As you can imagine, the higher Saskpower’s rate are in the future, the faster the system’s payback will be. Let’s take an example.
Let’s say the shop owner installed the six kilowatt system for a total cost $16,000. After rebate the total cost is $12,000. This means that at current rates the payback is 8.3% or 12 years.