Nova Scotia is an excellent place to live for homeowners looking to switch from traditional energy to solar power. The cost of solar power in Nova Scotia has fallen a whopping 86% since 2009, enabling the technology to become affordable on a mass scale for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
The provincial government in Nova Scotia, led by Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil, has been instrumental in achieving significant growth for Nova Scotia’s solar industry since 2015.
Improvements in Nova Scotia’s solar market can largely be tied to the province’s efforts to eliminate the upfront costs associated with purchasing a solar module. Most homeowners don’t have $20,000 to spend upfront, even if their investment can be entirely recouped and then some in the long run.
This barrier has primarily been what has stopped the proliferation of solar power across the world, even as the technology’s price has fallen dramatically.
Enabling homeowners to recoup their investments more quickly through a mix of rebates and incentives is critical to expanding the use of solar energy. This is truly where Nova Scotia shines; it’s also what makes Nova Scotia arguably the most accessible province in Canada to switch to solar power.
Nova Scotia’s government currently offers a rebate of $0.60/watt of solar panels installed, up to a maximum of $6000. This is the 4th highest provincial rebate in Canada, translating into roughly 35% savings on the initial, upfront cost of buying a solar module.
This incentive is provided by the “SolarHomes” program, which is administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia.
The province does require homeowners who purchase solar installations to pay the cost of a bi-directional meter when connecting to the primary electrical grid. Most other provinces require utility companies to cover the connection cost.
However, Nova Scotia also allows for solar installations to be financed through a “property assessed clean energy program,” or PACE. This program enables homeowners to cover 100% of the upfront cost of the installation (post-rebate) with a $0 down, long amortization period, low-interest loan.
Unlike most loans, a PACE loan is attached to your property. It’s paid through a homeowner’s property tax bill as a local improvement charge. The only stipulation: you must own a portion of your property. The most extensive PACE program in Nova Scotia belongs to the city of Halifax.
Such rapid industry growth demonstrates there is an ever-growing demand for solar energy across Nova Scotia. The province’s relatively low solar irradiation was thought to have been an issue for solar providers many years ago; however, sizeable increases in panel efficiency and longevity have eliminated this concern.
High electricity prices in Nova Scotia, which average 15 cents/kWh, further elevate the relevancy of solar power.
Nova Scotia’s incredible financing options and substantial rebates make solar energy a no-brainer for homeowners looking to save money, increase their property value, fight climate change, and build energy resilience in their communities.