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A grid of solar panels on an open green field with the sun and a clear blue sky on the horizon

Electricity Retailer Lets You Own a Power Plant

There's never been a better time to switch to solar in Alberta

Calgary-based Solartility is turning heads with its latest electricity pilot project. Customers can get a rooftop solar system, battery storage, and an electric vehicle charging station by signing up with Solartility.

Solartility’s program basically turns your house into what the company calls a virtual power plant.

But that’s not even the best part! Customers that sign up with Solartility will also receive a bi-directional interval meter.

This meter measures your electricity usage both ways. To make sense of this, let’s talk about how electricity storage works for solar panels.

Think of it like filling a bucket with water. When a bucket is filled with water, it will overflow. When it comes to electricity generated using solar panels, you can sell this overflow to electricity grids in exchange for credits.

Usually, the amount owners receive for these credits is based on a regulated monthly rate approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission. These are the folks that manage the gas, electric, and water utilities rates in the province.

But Solartility’s bi-directional interval meter allows customers to measure their electricity usage hourly. With this information, customers can pick and choose when to store their electricity and when to sell it.

a Solartility crew member on a ladder installing solar panels on the roof of a house
A Solartility crew member installing solar panels on a customer’s roof | The Canadian Press

“It means that for the first time, residential solar customers in Alberta will have access to the wholesale electricity market,” Shayne Butcher, Solartility’s Co-Founder, told The Canadian Press.

For example, customers could choose to sell their excess electricity during peak hours when rates are the highest. This will give customers the biggest bang for their buck.

“As consumers, we think (Solartility’s business model) is great, because the more people who are injecting into the grid at times of high demand will actually bring the average price down…so it’s a win-win for the average Alberta consumer,” said Joel MacDonald, Founder of EnergyRates.ca.

Solartility’s virtual power plant system could save customers up to 30% in electricity costs. If successful in Alberta, the company plans to expand its service into Ontario and the United States.

Switching to solar panels is a smart choice for anyone who wants to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Solartility’s latest project is as good a reason as any to make the change.

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