June 21, 2017 9:30 am
Updated: June 21, 2017 8:25 pm

Alberta offering up to 30% off solar panel installation with $36M program

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's solar program that offers up to $10,000 in rebates officially takes effect today. Fletcher Kent finds out what that means for home and business owners.

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The Alberta government announced details Wednesday about the Energy Efficiency Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

The province said homeowners can now get up to 30 per cent off solar panel installation, for a maximum rebate of $10,000, and businesses and non-profit organizations can get up to 25 per cent off 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.

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“This solar program helps Albertans lower their utility and invest in their homes. Solar jobs are growing and the industry is putting Albertans back to work,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said.

“Solar electricity puts the power in Albertans’ hands, making life more affordable while diversifying the economy and reducing carbon pollution.”

READ MORE: Alberta government looks at options to become 50% solar powered

Energy Efficiency Alberta CEO Monica Curtis said solar uptake has doubled since 2015 and will continue to grow as costs come down.

“This rebate program has been a missing piece in making the push toward solar and renewable generation in Alberta,” Curtis said.

Those who apply for the two-year program must own or have long-term rights to their property.

Systems must be designed and installed by qualified installers using CSA-approved panels and components or applicable certification to Canadian standards. Applicants will receive a direct deposit within 10 to 15 business days once a system is installed, inspected and connected.

The new Simons at Londonderry Mall will have 1,700 solar panels.

“We’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint and try to to start a conversation about what’s going on in the future,” president Peter Simons said.

The panels mean the new store will use significantly less energy than an older store.

“Our energy usage will be about 19 per cent of our typical store,” Simons said.

“Edmonton is the place to do it… I really sincerely believe that. There’s an energy here, there’s a scientific knowledge coming out of the oilsands, the transition from an actionable point of view.

“I’m excited there’s a real energy and a competency to get it done.”

Great Canadian Solar president Clifton Lofthaug said Alberta has an excellent solar resource.

“If you look at Germany, which is the initial country that really started talking adopting renewables, they get about 60 per cent of the sun we get here in Alberta.”

Lofthaug anticipates a significant increase in job opportunities in the coming weeks in the solar industry as a result of the new program.

“Established contractors here in Alberta are likely going to be very busy very quickly and are going to be in need of electricians, apprentices, labourers, people who are just looking to start in the industry, as well as engineering and project management.”

READ MORE: Alberta announces $36M rebate program for solar panels on homes, businesses

The Alberta government committed $36 million for the rebate program in February.

Phillips said the province’s goal is to have new panels on 10,000 Alberta rooftops within three years.

The solar panels would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 100,000 vehicles off the road, she added.

Albertans wanting to find out if they are eligible can apply at Energy Efficiency Alberta.

Systems installed prior to April 15 aren’t eligible for the rebate.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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