How Much Commercial Solar can Earn from Carbon Credits in Alberta

You could earn $12,210 per year by 2030 for a 200kW system

Written by Ernest Yap
commercial solar on factory

Commercial solar producers in Alberta want to know their potential earnings from solar carbon credits. If this is you, here’s what Rewatt estimates you could earn from our solar credits program.

For a 200kW commercial solar system, you could generate carbon credits that generate revenue between $69,648 to $99,823 over 10 years.

For example, a 200kW system generates about 240MWh per year. Assuming a derate loss of 2% per year, here’s what is estimated for 2023 with a grid emissions factor of 0.53:

Year Conservative Estimate Aggressive Estimate
2023 $4,953 $5,239
2024 $5,766 $7,068
2025 $6,588 $8,052
2026 $7,319 $8,925
2027 $7,898 $9,828
2028 $7,695 $10,602
2029 $7,560 $11,424
2030 $7,425 $12,210
2031 $7,290 $12,960
2032 $7,155 $13,515
TOTAL $69,649 $99,823

 These estimates already account for the 25% sales transaction fee for microgenerators. There are no other fees.

Conservative vs. aggressive: what’s the difference for Alberta solar carbon credits?

The conservative case is based on carbon credit prices using historical trends. We believe that an Alberta solar carbon credit will be sold at prices 35% lower than the Canadian carbon price. We assume prices will hit a ceiling at $90 per credit by 2027 because buyers may considering building their own clean energy plant at this price. There’s a good chance that inflation will bump this threshold up so Rewatt will adjust as our data comes in.

The aggressive case is based on selling Alberta solar credits at prices 20% lower than the Canadian carbon price. There is no ceiling on the price of credit.

Right now, credits prices are better than our aggressive case. In 2022, the carbon price was $50/tonne of CO2e, but we’ve been selling credits for $43/tonne of CO2e. In 2023, we will update as soon as we make some transactions.

Why are earnings increasing every year until 2030?

The Canadian carbon price is regulated to increase, and we believe the credit price will mirror this. In 2023, the Canadian price is set at $65/tonne of CO2e, and it is mandated to increase $15/tonne every year until it reaches $170/tonne by 2030.

We don’t think credit prices will be the same as the carbon price. The carbon credit price is dictated by buyer demand, which is why it is variable year by year. Alternatively, the price of Alberta carbon credits could hit a low too. 

For the commercial solar producer, there is no risk of losing money. This is a matter of earning more or earning less from Alberta solar carbon credits.

I want to get a commercial solar grant from the Alberta government. Can I still earn carbon credits? 

The answer is likely “No”.

To make sure, you need to check the terms and conditions of the grant contract for a section called “environmental attributes” or “environmental credits”. Usually it says that you’ll convey the environmental attributes to the government. 

Why?

The grants are funded by emitters who didn’t buy carbon credits and have instead opted to pay the penalty. So it would be double-dipping to earn credits from this and it would not be reducing emissions. 

Grants have the advantage of giving you upfront money before installation. Credits are incentives based on performance after installation. Credits earn you more over the long-term, but it’s only if you’re okay with that. 

Ready to Join Rewatt's Alberta Solar Credits Program?

If you’re a commercial solar producer and you want earnings from Alberta solar carbon credits, you can learn more.

Questions? Give us a shout.