In 2019, we dreamed of a world where homeowners with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their rooftops could play an important role in Alberta’s deregulated energy market. Five years later, the Solar Club stands as a testament to the willingness of Albertans to embrace renewables and the incredible success that comes with empowering Albertans to be directly part of the energy transition.
The Solar Club operates on four core pillars:
Improving ROI: By providing excellent rates, a cash back program, and the chance to profit from the sale of carbon credits, Members have vastly improved the returns on their solar investments.
Achieving Net Zero: By aggregating all Members’ exports, we can achieve net zero or even climate-positive status.
Environmental Impact: The Solar Club is committed to a collective environmental statement by exporting 100 million kWh of renewable energy into Alberta’s grid by 2030.
Promoting Renewables: By encouraging the use of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) alongside solar energy exports by our Members.
The need for global conferences like COP28 highlights the urgency of reaching net zero across markets, jurisdictions, and industries. That’s where the success of the Solar Club really shines. We can proudly say that as of 2024, Solar Club Members have not only reached net zero, they are collectively climate-positive by just over 20%!
What does that mean? At a time when climate change is top of mind, and everyone is looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, our members are exporting more renewable energy into the grid than they are using. Moreover, the value that Members received from the Solar Club in 2023 is $8.9 million, a 78% increase over 2022!
Today, our members received their cash back payments for 2023. Cash back amounts are calculated based on a percentage of the cost of energy imported throughout the year. The total value of those cash back payments totaled over $100,000! That’s pure cash being deposited directly into bank accounts.
Striding Towards Net Zero
When we launched the Solar Club, our goal was to export 100 million kWh of renewable energy into the grid by 2030. This means our members will have displaced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 100 million kWh of conventional generation through solar energy. Despite the fact that microgenerators draw power from the grid during times when the sun isn’t shining, they still contribute by exporting surplus energy during peak production hours. These exports are a pivotal contribution to the journey towards net zero.
Since its inception, Solar Club Members have exported 79 million kWh - just 21 million kWh shy of our goal. Growth patterns suggest we will meet our goal in 2024, six years ahead of schedule. To that end, we are setting a new goal of 250 million kWh of solar energy exports by 2030.
The Gift of Renewable Energy Certificates
Our Solar Club is more than simply microgenerators exporting renewable energy into Alberta’s grid. We also push the limits of the energy transition through Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs. These RECs allow Members of the Solar Club to further contribute to the energy transition. By purchasing and retiring RECs, customers can ensure that renewable energy is being sent back into the grid.
In 2023, all Solar Club Members received RECs equivalent to 50% of the energy they consumed, for a total of 10 million kWh of renewable energy, representing a financial commitment of $173,000 by the Solar Club.
In 2024, this program will continue and will include a blend of RECs from biomass, solar, wind, and hydro generators. When we factor in the impact of RECs that were purchased and retired on behalf of Solar Club Members in 2023, the net impact pushes our climate-positive position from 20% to 57%. This year, we intend to gift $100,000 worth of RECs to Solar Club customers to keep our Microgen customers “in the green” and to shift the ratio of emissions-heavy generation fuels towards renewables.
The Hummingbird Virtual Solar Community Takes Flight
All microgenerators enrolled with us, regardless of membership status, are part of our Hummingbird Virtual Solar Community (VSC), one of the largest distributed solar farms in Alberta. As a distributed virtual solar farm, the Hummingbird VSC leverages Alberta’s abundant solar resources and the many homeowners willing to invest in solar PV technology. The Hummingbird VSC now represents the installation of over 100,000 solar modules, and a total capacity of approximately 65 MW. With the exception of outliers like the Travers Solar Project, the average solar farm size in Alberta is 28 MW.
The Hummingbird VSC is made possible by Alberta’s Microgeneration Regulation, one of Canada’s most successful renewable energy models.
The launch of the Hummingbird Virtual Solar Community marks a significant milestone in Alberta’s journey towards a sustainable and carbon-neutral future. The Hummingbird VSC showcases the potential of leveraging abundant solar resources and community-driven initiatives, and underscores the importance of innovative solutions like rooftop solar installations. As Alberta navigates the evolving landscape of renewable energy, the Hummingbird VSC stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and localized efforts to shape a more sustainable energy future.
2024 Solar Show
The Solar Show is Solar Alberta’s five-day, annual online trade show and conference. The 10th Annual Solar Show will feature engaging content for the general public, as well as energizing solar industry-oriented sessions. The week will finish with one big online networking evening to bring everyone together.
The Solar Show also includes a virtual trade show for members of the public to learn more about solar and solar-related businesses and nonprofits.
The 2024 Solar Show will take place from January 29 to February 2.
Learn more about the event and register to attend by clicking here.
Your Chance to Win
This year, we are committed to pushing the Solar Club to new heights. Starting in April, all Solar Club Members will be entered for a chance to win $1,000 in monthly draws that will run until August. In addition, all Solar Club Members who are AIR MILES® Collectors will be entered for a chance to win AIR MILES® Reward Miles™ in five monthly draws starting in April.*
If you know someone on the fence about installing solar, let them know about the Solar Club and our upcoming contest draws.
* Terms and conditions will apply.