This calculator helps project planners evaluate the cost implications of proposed grid-connected solar PV projects by comparing them to purchasing electricity from Alberta’s grid. This tool 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. Before you begin you will need to collect information about your project.
How to use the calculator
Insert the project inputs, including:
- The capacity of your system (DCkW) 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.
Then 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.
Note that 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 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 conclusions drawn from 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 Renewable Energy and Conservation for their support of this project.
Apply for funding
Decrease the upfront costs of installing solar. Apply for solar PV funding for your school or municipality through one of our solar funding programs.