Solar Matters: Alberta’s solar incentive

  • Jul. 6, 2017 12:30 a.m.

On June 21, fittingly, as the summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the Alberta government announced its solar photovoltaic installation incentive.

The program is open to homeowners, business, and non-profit organizations, which have not received support from the Growing Forward On-Farm Solar PV program, or the Alberta Municipal Solar Program, which applies to municipal government facilities.

In response to the government’s commitment to lowering the provinces carbon emission levels, it is expected to lower overall greenhouse gas emissions by 500 000 tonnes, which is equivalent to some 100 000 vehicles being pulled of provinces road.

Known as the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, RCSP, it will fund a residential photovoltaic array, up to 15 kilowatts, at $0.75 / watt, to the lesser of 30 per cent of the project, or a maximum of $10,000.

This applies to residential installations where the “interconnection approval to the wire service provider”, (REA, or power company that owns the connected infrastructure) has been approved on or after April 15.

Businesses are eligible for the $0.75 / watt of capacity to a maximum of $500, 000 and a solar array size of 5 MW.

The funding for each grant comes from the provinces recently exercised carbon tax and is available for all single or multi-dwelling homes.

As laid out in the website; step one is to apply online and set up an account, and then have the system installed.

Once the array is in place, step two is to submit all documents relating to the equipment and the installers qualifications, and finally, the last step, funds will be direct deposited into your account.

As per provincial regulation, the solar photovoltaic (PV) system must be grid connected in accordance with Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation (AR27/2008) to meet all applicable safety codes, and the equipment must comply, as mandated by the Canadian Standards Council, with all CSA, (Canadian Safety Association) standards for solar photovoltaic / electrical components.

Simply put an electrical contractor has to install the photovoltaic panels, all approved electrical controls and required wiring. Additionally an approved installer or tradesman is to place the mounts on the roof or walls of the home or office building.

This program requires the applicant to be the owner or someone who has long term rights to said property, and crucially, the home or business has to have “sufficient solar exposure”.

Once that has been determined, the home or business owner can then research the types of equipment available, find and select a contractor, (installers are listed in the Solar Energy Society of Alberta’s, Solar Providers Directory). Then, obtain all permits and approvals, have the photovoltaic system assembled, the power meter installed by the owners WSP, to complete the connection of the photovoltaic system to the grid, and finally, you can apply for your rebate from Energy Efficiency Alberta.

Question is however, with the slowdown in the energy sector severely affecting our economy, how many Albertans can come up with their 60 per cent?

For more information check out their website: www.efficiencyalberta.ca/solar or contact them at: solaralberta@inclimesolutions.ca. Lorne Oja can be reached at lorne@solartechnical.ca.

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