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Blog Incentive Programs

Solar Incentives and Rebates in Canada 2023 UPDATED

As Canada moves forward towards becoming a net-zero economy by 2050, more rebates, incentives, and tax cuts are being introduced. We’ve put together all federal and provincially available solar incentives in Canada, includingthose offered by energy efficiency programs, major Canadian municipalities, and major LDCs.

The new 2023 Budget has decided to pursue investment tax credits for clean technology, such as wind, solar, and green hydrogen, which will move Canada into a competitive position as we decarbonize the energy sector. Below you can check the new solar rebates and updated tax credits for your area, thus informing your decision about going solar and transitioning to renewable energy.

 

1. Federal Incentives and Rebates.

Canada’s federal government provides three solar incentives: two of which are exclusively commercial and one which is residential. It also offers investment tax credits in a variety of clean energy sectors.

a. The Greener Homes Rebate

The Greener Homes initiative is a perfect opportunity for homeowners to make their houses more comfortable and reduce living costs. At the same time, they can gain grants from the government for contributing to Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions.

The Greener Homes Rebate provides up to $5,000 for the installation and implementation of a roof or ground-mounted solar system. The government of Canada has given over 700,000 grants to help homeowners lower the investment capital required to go solar.

b. Self-Employed or Commercial:

The Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance enables commercial producers of renewable electricity to reduce their taxable income. The enhanced allowance offers a 100 percent reduction that scales down over time. This commercial incentive can only be claimed on property subject to Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) rules.

Businesses can also take advantage of the Canadian Renewable Conservation Expense (CRCE). This enables startup expenditures to be deducted for the year incurred if related to clean energy conservation or generation. If most of the tangible property in a claim is eligible for inclusion in Class 43.1 or 43.2, certain intangible expenses may also be deductible, including engineering and design work.

c. Residential or Homeowners:

Another federal incentive offers homeowners up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to help purchase environmentally friendly retrofits. These can include solar panels, more efficient furnaces, or higher quality sealing for windows and doors. Additionally, this allows homeowners to get a free energy audit to determine what upgrades would translate into the greatest savings.

d. Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit:

In the 2022 Fall Economic Statement, the federal government of Canada launched the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This incentive targets clean technologies with the goal of enhancing the country’s competitiveness in the business sector. The aim is to raise Canada’s attractiveness to investors and catch up to the USA who recently implemented the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The ITC is a refundable incentive that provides up to 30% of the cost of capital investment for businesses. Solar and wind power, zero-emission technologies like electric vehicles and clean hydrogen as well as storage are all eligible.

 

2. Provincial and Municipality Incentives and Rebates

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotian homeowners can claim a rebate of $0.30/watt of solar panels installed, up to a maximum of $3,000. This incentive, titled the “Solar Homes” program, is run by Efficiency energy production throughout the province.

Nova Scotia is also running the Solar for Non-Profit Pilot which offers incentives to eligible organization for solar PV systems up to 25kW.

There is another provincial incentive called the Home Battery Initiative which encourages home battery storage systems. These systems must accompany a solar PV system either new or existing. Participants can be rebated $300/kWh of total installed energy capacity for a maximum of $2,500.

People living in Halifax, Amherst, Bridgewater, and other municipalities, can also access one of Canada’s best solar financing programs, PACE. The property assessed clean energy program lets homeowners install their solar with a $0 down, long amortization period, low-interest loan.

The logistics of paying this back is straightforward, as the PACE surcharge is attached to a homeowner’s property tax bill. Overall, Nova Scotia is one of the best places in Canada to make the switch to solar energy, thanks to the province’s generous renewable energy rebate, cheap solar installation costs, and excellent natural conditions for the panels.

County of Colchester & Wolfville NS

PACE Atlantic is providing interest-free loans up to $40,000 for up to 15 years. This can serve as an aid in the investment capital required to go solar. The corporation’s purpose is to provide low-carbon programs for Canadian municipalities that help homeowners invest in energy efficiency and solar. PACE can be combined with the Greener Homes rebate. In total, this can add up to $5,000 in rebates and an additional $40,000 in interest-free loans.

Prince Edward Island

PEI’s Solar Electric Rebate Program is administered by Efficiency PEI. It allows homeowners to claim a cash rebate of $1.00/watt, up to a maximum of $10,000 in savings. Small business owners are eligible for a rebate of $0.35/watt up to $10,000. Applicants to the Solar Electric Rebate Program must be the legal property owner (or business owner). Moreover, they must meet the sizing requirements to be considered by Efficiency PEI.

Residential properties can be no more than three stories high and must be smaller than 600m squared. Detached single-family homes are eligible, in addition to row housing, mobile homes with a permanent utility connection, and apartment complexes. Residents must be occupying their home for more than six months to qualify for EfficiencyPEI’s program.

Any building that is found to be structurally unsound during an inspection will automatically be ineligible for the program. Financing of solar panels in PEI can be done with cash, bank loans, a credit line or mortgage, or the province’s energy-efficient loan program, which features interest rates of 5% and a 7-year amortization period.

Another key benefit to going solar in Prince Edward Island is the ability to stack both the EfficiencyPEI and Greener Homes rebates, totaling up to $15,000. This drastically reduces the investment capital required to go solar in PEI. There has never been a better time to go solar if you reside in Prince Edward Island.

Charlottetown & Stratford PEI

PACE Atlantic is providing an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 for up to 15 years to aid in the investment capital required to go solar. PACE Atlantic’s purpose is to provide low-carbon programs for Canadian municipalities that help homeowners invest in energy efficiency and solar. This program can be combined with both the EfficiencyPEI and Greener Homes rebate, totaling up to $15,000 in rebates and an additional $40,000 in interest-free loans. This makes Charlottetown and Stratford some of the most affordable cities in Canada to go solar.

Alberta

Despite the cancellation of the province’s centralized solar incentive program — Energy Efficiency Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar — Alberta is one of the best places in Canada to make the switch to green energy, thanks to perfect lighting conditions and a slew of regional incentives.

Home Energy Retrofit Accelerator (HERA)

This program is offered in Edmonton and provides $0.40/watt for solar energy installations. That’s roughly 15% of the entire upfront cost of adopting solar power! Residents in Banff, Canmore, Medicine Hat, and a few other localities can also claim municipal solar incentives.

Solar Offset

Another excellent program that runs in Alberta is Solar Offset. It is designed to help businesses to link up with small scale solar panel owners so they can lower their environmental impact through carbon offset credits. The program turns clean energy into carbon offsets, which can then be bought, returning income to the homeowner.

Light Up Alberta – Solar Club Loyalty Program

The Solar Club package is an excellent option for residential, farm, and small commercial customers living in Alberta as it boasts better, more-flexible rates when selling back surplus energy. It also offers a 2.0% cash back on electricity that has been imported from the grid on an annual basis. Members can switch between a high-export rate of 30.00 ¢/kWh when they are exporting more than they are importing, or a low-export rate of 12.50 ¢/kWh during the cloudier months where they are importing more than they are exporting.

 

Generally speaking, most municipalities throughout Alberta that offer a solar incentive set it around $0.70/watt, with a maximum of $5,000 in savings. Homeowners may live in an area with overlapping solar incentives. Therefore, they must check carefully to ensure they select the best program to accrue the most savings.

There are also generous subsidies available to Alberta’s businesses that want to go green. Emissions Reduction Alberta offers small and medium-sized firms up to $250,000 per project, with a maximum of $500,000 per company. There is broad flexibility with how this money can be spent.

However, it’s usually applied to projects such as HVAC, fan/pump upgrades, LED lighting systems, solar panel installations, and automation development. Individual businesses, non-profit organizations, co-operatives, farms registered as a business, and private schools not eligible for government funding are among some of the eligible applicants for this cash incentive.

Edmonton AB

The city offers Edmonton homeowners $0.40/watt (up to $4000) towards the cost of systems. This covers approximately 15% of the costs of going solar. Rebate stacking is allowed with Canada’s Greener Homes Grant program which is up to $5000 totaling up to $9000 in rebates for Edmonton homeowners. Newly constructed homes and residential buildings are also eligible for a City of Edmonton rebate of $0.30/watt.

British Columbia

British Columbia currently has no provincial rebate incentive for solar installations; however, there is a provincial exemption from the sales tax, though this covers just a fraction of the installation cost. Much like Alberta, there are several regional solar incentives that fill the place of a centralized program.

The Regional District of Nanaimo is currently offering rebates of $250-$400 for solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal, or wind systems. A limited number of these rebates are available from January 1, 2021, onwards, so the program is operating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Documentation must be provided to demonstrate that an address falls within the RDN.

There’s no centralized financing system in British Columbia, though some municipalities offer specialized loan programs meant for solar adoption. For example, the city of Nelson’s Bill Financing Program allows homeowners to borrow up to $16,000 for home energy upgrades (solar included) and pay it back through their Nelson hydroelectric bill.

The city of Penticton also offers a loan that can be paid back through a homeowner’s electric bill, though the cap sits at $10,000 rather than $16,000. While helpful, these financing programs aren’t considered comprehensive, as eligibility is determined by individual creditworthiness (which is not the case with a true PACE program).

Ontario

Following a similar trend, Ontario lacks a centralized solar incentive or financing program, though a few targeted incentives are available. The First Nations Conservation Program, for example, offers free efficiency upgrades for on-reserve customers.

Ontario has invested $300 million into an initiative to help municipalities offer financing solutions to low-rise residential properties. PACE, utility on-bill financing, and third-party lending partnerships are three such financing models used by Ontario’s municipalities.

Unfortunately, only two PACE programs exist in the province, and they’re both located in the City of Toronto. The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is limited to single-family homes and has a $75,000 cap, along with a maximum 20-year repayment plan.

The High-Rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS) is geared towards helping apartment building owners (3 stories or more) reduce emissions by upgrading to quality, sustainable infrastructure.

Ottawa ON

The city of Ottawa is piloting a loan program for up to three years for home energy efficiency retrofits which includes solar panels. This program is designed to support local residents to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. This program offers zero-interest, 20-year loans of up to $125,000 (or 10% of the current value assessment of the home, whichever is less) to cover the cost of going solar. With zero interest, 20-year loans that are tied to the property, not the individual, the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program makes it easier and more affordable for homeowners to invest in going solar. The minimum loan amount that can be issued to an applicant is $15,000.

Guelph ON

PACE Atlantic is working with both the City of Guelph and Our Energy Guelph to roll out a PACE program in the Spring of 2022. PACE provides up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to help assist with the investment capital required to go solar. Details are still being finalized, but when this offer does become available, it will make Guelph one of the most affordable cities in Ontario for going solar.

Durham ON

The Deep Retrofit Rebate offers residents of Durham up to $10,000 in incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their homes. This rebate can be combined with both the Canada Greener Homes Grant Program and other incentives from Enbridge Gas for rebates of up to $20,000. Moreover, this incentive comes with expert training and guidance to ensure a successful solar transition.

Toronto ON

The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) provides financing of up to $75,000 for home energy efficiency improvements on eligible upgrades such as, high-efficiency furnaces, air source heat pumps, solar hot water systems, rooftop solar PV panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and battery storage. It has fixed low-interest rates for terms of up to 20-years to make investing in energy efficiency both achievable and practical.

Enbridge ON

Enbridge has joined up with the Canada Greener Homes Grant to offer rebates on a variety of energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners in the city. This includes up to $5,000 for solar panels or batteries, $1,625 for weatherproofing to protect the home from climate change events, such as fires and floods, and other amounts for a variety of home retrofits. All applicants must complete an assessment which generates a list of recommended upgrades they can then implement in their homes.

New Brunswick

The Total Home Energy Savings Program (THESP) is run by Energie NB Power and offers a rebate that ranges from $0.20/watt to $0.30/watt of solar energy installed. The rebate amount depends on the scale of the upgrades performed and the initial energy conservation status of the property.

The more a homeowner upgrades, the larger the rebate they’re entitled to. For a 10KW system installed, therefore, a maximum of $3000 or a minimum of $2000 would be rebated. It should be noted that this program offers rebates for a variety of other environmentally friendly upgrades. These include insulation, air sealing, and heating and recovery equipment.

There are no PACE programs available in New Brunswick, though several financing programs are offered through private banks. RBC has an energy saver loan, TD offers several different loan options. If, however, you prefer a credit union, you can use NBTA, which has rates as low as prime +1%.

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