Evaluate a proposed grid-connected solar PV project by comparing the development costs to the cost of purchasing electricity from Alberta’s grid.
The Alberta Solar Calculator estimates yearly cash flow with and without a solar PV system and compares the total net present value of different options over a chosen analysis period.
How to use the calculator
Before you begin you will need to collect information about your project, including:
- The capacity of your system (DC kW) and your estimate for annual PV energy output below.
- The current variable costs for energy, transmission and distribution.
- The percentage of the solar PV energy generated that is expected to be used simultaneously by the loads in the building or site.
- The project cost as a total amount.
Insert the project inputs into the form. The calculator will output a summary of the economic indicators and a graph that shows the all-in cost per kWh generated at any point in time within the analysis period. You can make adjustments to see the economic impact of each change.
The point where the accumulated grid cost exceeds the accumulated PV cost indicates a breakeven point after which the PV system may prove to be the lower overall cost option.
The longer a PV system is in operation, the lower the total accumulated cost per kWh and parity with grid purchase electricity occurs when the PV cost curve crosses the grid cost curve. Generally, solar PV investment is upfront with a slight increase due to annual maintenance and insurance costs.
The conclusions drawn by this calculator are highly dependent on the user input. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that all inputs are adjusted correctly. Predicting future financial returns is always complex and depends on many unknown or uncontrollable circumstances. Please use this calculator only as a guide.
The Action Centre thanks Lakeland College’s Sustainable Energy Technology program for their support of this project.