Micro-generation is small-scale local electricity production, which uses renewable and alternative energy sources. Solar power, or Solar Photovoltaic (PV), is one of the most common types of micro-generation in Alberta. You can use the power you generate to offset a portion of your own electricity consumption.
Under the provincial Micro-Generation Regulation, there are two types of micro-generators: small-scale (under 150 kilowatts) and large-scale (between 150 kilowatts and 5 megawatts).
Most residential, farm or small business micro-generators are small-scale micro-generators.
Becoming a micro-generator
By generating your own electricity, you can:
- reduce your carbon footprint and energy charges on your electricity bill
- get a credit from your electricity retailer for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) you generate and don’t use.
However, the cost of delivering energy is largely fixed, and you cannot reduce it generating your own electricity. Therefore, you will still have to pay fees like distribution charges, transmission charges, local access fee, delivery charges and balancing pool allocation on your bill.
You will also pay normal energy prices if you do not produce enough energy from your micro-generating system and still have to take power from the grid.
Benefits earned through micro-generation
Solar energy system owners can sell the electricity they are not using back into the grid through the billing process called net billing.
As a small-scale micro-generator, you must negotiate compensation and billing with your retailer. Your retailer will credit you for excess electricity you supply to the grid. You and your electricity retailer will agree to the rate for this credit. Most micro-generators use these credits monthly to offset their electricity bill.
If you didn’t use all of your credits, your retailer must financially compensate your for unused credits once a year. The Micro-Generation Regulation describes the way these credits flow between you, your retailer and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).
If you wish to become a micro-generator, you can follow the step-by-step guide at https://www.alberta.ca/micro-generation.aspx. The Alberta Utility Commission’s Rule 024: Rules Respecting Micro-Generation outlines the forms you must complete in order for the AUC to approve you as a micro-generator.
For more detailed information on the process and rules on micro-generation in Alberta, check out:
- Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) website
- AUC Micro-Generation Notice Submission Guideline
- AUC Rule 024: Rules Respecting Micro-Generation.
If you have questions on micro-generation projects, please contact your local wire service provider (distributor).