The Alberta government is creating a $36-million rebate program for solar installation on residential and commercial buildings, according to a statement released on Monday, Feb. 27.
The media release stated that homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations will receive rebates for rooftop solar panels that meet the Residential and Commercial Solar Program requirements as early as this summer.
“There’s a lot of buzz in Alberta around small-scale solar,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office. “This program will make solar power affordable for more Albertans, leading to new panels on 10,000 Alberta rooftops by 2020. Along the way, we will create jobs and local expertise in an emerging industry.”
According to the statement, solar uptake has doubled in Alberta since 2015, bolstered by initiatives like the Alberta Municipal Solar Program and the On-Farm Solar PV Program.
Over the next five years, the Residential and Commercial Solar Program will build on these existing programs, the statement added.
By 2019, the new program is expected to support the creation of 900 jobs in Alberta’s solar sector; cut solar installation costs by up to 30 per cent for residences, and up to 25 per cent for businesses and non-profits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province by about a half million tonnes, the equivalent of taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road.
To ensure Albertans receive timely access, the government is posting a Request for Proposal to identify a third party to deliver the new program, details of which will be defined in coming months, including qualifying systems, installation and eligibility requirements.
“The Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel heard that Albertans wanted this program,” said David Dodge, Chair, Energy Efficiency Alberta. “The Prairies have the best solar resources in Canada, and there are a lot of potential investment opportunities. This is the first of several programs that will help create jobs and diversify Alberta’s energy economy into clean sources of energy.”
According to Rob Harlan, Executive Director, Solar Energy Society of Alberta, Albertans are ready to go solar, with growing demand, a world-class solar resource and an eager and capable solar industry.
“A sustained government push has been the missing piece for creating local jobs and clean energy in our province,” Harlan added.
Speaking about the initiative was also Randall Benson, Solar Photovoltaic Power System Expert at the Gridworks Solar Energy Training Centre.
“We are proud to play a continued role in giving workers the tools they need to thrive in the province’s growing renewables sector,” Benson said. “Together, we are building a stronger, more prosperous economy for all Albertans.”