Note: This article applies to Alberta homeowners, commercial property owners, and municipalities with solar or wind systems of less than 5,000 kilowatt of capacity (“microgenerators”). If you have a utility-scale project, then your costs and calculations are different, although credit prices should be the same.
The number of carbon offset credits you earn from renewable energy (such as solar or wind) in Alberta is dependent on the amount of energy your site produces and the credit price at time of sale. There is a simple equation to calculate this:
Number of carbon credits = Megawatt hours (MWh) x Grid Emissions Factor
One carbon credit is equal to one metric ton of CO2-equivalent emissions (tCO2e) and is the financial instrument representing the right to emit this amount.
Let’s go through an example:
A 200kW commercial solar PV system generates about 240,000kWh of electricity per year (240MWh) in Alberta. This is based on a provincial specific yield of 1200 kWh/kWp. You can get more accurate readings on energy generation from your installer or from monitoring your actual measurements.
The Alberta emissions factor in 2023 is 0.53. This number is determined by the regulating government, and it represents the CO2 emission factor (tCO2/MWh) associated with each unit of electricity provided by an electricity system. The lower the emission factor, then the cleaner your grid is. As a result, this emissions factor has historically changed every year or three.
When there is a substantial volume of carbon credits collected from our members, Rewatt will go to our list of buyers and try to get the highest price.
Let’s assume, the best price we received was $55.00/ Alberta credit in 2023.
Your 2023 earnings:
Carbon credits (2023) = 240MWh x 0.53 (grid emissions factor)
= 127 carbon credits
Total earnings (2023) = 127 credits x $55/credit
Note: Rewatt’s credit sale transaction fee in 2023 is 25%.
Your Net Earnings in 2023 =
Rewatt has already published estimated net earnings over 10 years for a 200kW commercial solar PV system. You can read the article titled, How Much Commercial Solar can Earn from Carbon Credits in Alberta.
In general, this system could earn from $69,649 to $99,823 over 10 years (conservative to aggressive estimate).
Alberta Commercial and residential solar