Province unveils how homeowners can take advantage of solar panel rebates

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Homeowners in Alberta can now receive up to 30 per cent off solar panel installation costs, to a maximum rebate of $10,000.

The province made the announcement Wednesday its Energy Efficiency Alberta $36-million Residential and Commercial Solar Program came into effect. Businesses and non-profit groups are also eligible for up to 25 per cent of system costs, to a maximum rebate of $500,000.

Rebates are based on the size of the installation and calculated at $0.75 per watt.

“Solar electricity puts the power in Albertans’ hands, making life more affordable while diversifying the economy and reducing carbon pollution,” said Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, in a statement.

Alberta has some of the best opportunities in North America for solar energy. According to National Resources Canada, Edmonton has similar solar potential to cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Rome, Italy.

Applicants to the two-year program must own or have long-term rights to their property, says the province. Systems must also be designed and installed by qualified installers using CSA-approved panels and components or applicable certification to Canadian standards.

Clifton Lofthaug, president of Great Canadian Solar, expects the steady growth in Alberta’s solar power industry to increase in the wake of the announcement.

“Each of these companies will likely be looking to hire over the next couple of weeks, ourselves included,” he said.

Once a system is installed, inspected and connected, homeowners can expect to receive a direct deposit in 10 to 15 business days. To ensure a project is eligible, homeowners can apply directly at Energy Efficiency Alberta for pre-approval. Systems installed prior to April 15, 2017, are not eligible for a rebate.

In January 2017, the province made it easier to generate more solar power in homes by increasing microgeneration limits from 1 megawatt to 5 megawatts.

“Alberta’s been a late bloomer on energy efficiency,” said Phillips, “but we are making up for lost time.”