SkyFire, like many businesses are putting plans in place to mitigate the potential results of the up and coming provincial election (expected to occur between March 1st and May 31st of 2019) and what a political change in direction could mean to our industry. While nothing is certain until the last vote is counted, the Climate Leadership Plan and the Carbon Levy have been lightning rods since being introduced in Alberta. The Carbon Levy is the source of funding for energy efficiency and solar rebates that many Albertans have taken advantage of. As part of the Climate Leadership Plan, revenue from the carbon levy is used to pay for initiatives that reduce emissions and support adaptation and transition to a lower carbon economy, including:
• Rebates for Albertans to offset cost increases
• Renewable energy projects and electricity transition supports (solar power included)
• Industrial and consumer energy efficiency programs
• Indigenous climate leadership initiatives
• Transit and infrastructure projects
Currently, there are several incentives for solar power in Alberta from both the provincial government funded programs as well as certain municipalities in the province. These include:
Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program
The Alberta government launched a $36-million rebate program in 2017 to support new solar PV installations on residential, multi-residential and commercial buildings. Through the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations will be able to receive a partial grant for grid-connected solar PV systems. All eligible solar systems installed after April 15, 2017, will receive the provincial solar rebate. Residential Solar Rebate: $0.90/Watt (Rebate cannot exceed 35% of eligible expenses or $10k) Commercial Solar Rebate: $0.75/Watt (Rebate cannot exceed 35% of eligible expenses or $1M).
Alberta Municipal Solar Program
The Alberta Municipal Solar Program will provide rebates of up to $0.90 per watt to municipalities for installing solar on municipal buildings, such as offices, fire halls, community centers and more. Projects up to 5MW of installed capacity will receive the full AMSP rebate.
On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics Program
The On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics Program provides funding towards solar photovoltaics at rural locations with a farm rate class. This enables our primary producers to conserve non-renewable fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, ultimately reducing the environmental footprint of Alberta’s agriculture industry. This program will help producers generate their own electricity and save on energy costs while reducing their carbon emissions. Grant funding is calculated as follows: ≤100 kW: $0.75/Watt to maximum 35% eligible cost share; and 100.01 – 150 kW: $0.56/Watt to maximum 27% eligible cost share.
In order to qualify for the On-Farm Solar PV grant program, an applicant must have an Electrical Distribution Rate Class that is rated as Farm, or equivalent. Proof of this rate class will be required and can be found either on your electrical bill or obtained from your electricity retailer.
Alberta Indigenous Solar Program
The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program (AISP) is a program that provides grants to Alberta Indigenous communities or organization to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on facilities owned by the community or organization. AISP provides funding for up to 80% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $200,000 per project. Applicants can access other non-Government of Alberta funded programs to cover the remaining 20% of the project costs. The maximum funding stacking level is 100% of eligible costs.
Banff Solar PV Incentive Program
The Town of Banff has aligned its Solar PV Incentive Program with the provincial solar rebate program. The Town of Banff Solar PV Incentive Program provides an up-front solar rebate, which matches the provincial rebate at $0.75/Watt. This is equivalent to $750/kW of installed solar capacity. The maximum system size up to which the Town will provide a rebate is limited to 7.5 kW. Participants in the Banff municipal Solar Incentive Program are also eligible to receive the provincial solar rebate.
Canmore Solar PV Incentive Program
A limited number of solar incentives of $1,250 are available to residents and businesses to help offset the cost of purchasing and installing a solar electric system in Canmore. Eight incentives are available and drawn by lottery. All projects must meet building and electrical safety code requirements, and the minimum installation requirement is a 2.5kW solar electric system.
Edmonton Solar PV Incentive Program
The City of Edmonton is currently offering an incentive of $0.15/watt towards the cost of installing a residential system, paired with $0.90/watt from Energy Efficiency Alberta, you can save approximately one-third of the cost of going solar.
Brazeau County Solar PV Incentive Program
Brazeau County’s rebate of $0.75/watt (up to $10,000) is available to landowners within the County (one application per). Further applications may be considered in future program initiatives. For residential service, the solar photovoltaic (PV) system must be grid connected in accordance with Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation and must not be eligible for the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP) or the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program.
The nature of rebates and grants is that they can end without notice. The only way to ensure that you can benefit from these Programs and incentives is to act now and obtain confirmation of funding through the various Programs.
If solar has been on your radar and you are curious to find out if your home or business is a great candidate for solar, there has been no better time in history to find out.