Edmonton boosts its solar energy rebate, helping fill gap from stalled Alberta program

The City of Edmonton wants homeowners to warm up to the idea of harnessing the sun’s energy by almost tripling its rebate for home solar installations, helping to fill a void created by the suspension of a provincial rebate program.

The new incentive rate of 40 cents per watt should cover about 15 per cent of the cost of a home solar energy system installation, the city said Tuesday in a news release.

Previously, the city offered a rebate of 15 cents per watt, which complemented the 90 cents per watt rebate offered from Energy Efficiency Alberta. 

Within two months of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party being elected in April, the solar rebate program had been frozen with no new applications being accepted as the government reviews the entire energy efficiency program.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said in the news release that incentives are an important way to encourage residents to reduce their carbon footprint by moving to renewable energy sources.

“Creating incentives for renewable energy sources like solar power is one of the most impactful ways of building a climate-resilient city while also creating jobs and diversifying Edmonton’s local economy,” he said.

Edmonton gets about 2,300 hours of sunshine each year, making it one of the sunniest cities in Canada. 

Since the Energy Efficiency Alberta program was launched in June 2017, there have been 1,500 solar projects installed throughout the program, almost all of which were for homes. The systems have an expected total capacity of 64 megawatts and are predicted to remove 338 tonnes of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The UCP’s suspension of some energy efficiency programs prompted the City of Edmonton to draft its climate plan.

That plan aims to reach an emissions goal of three tonnes per person by 2030, a dramatic drop from the current 20 tonnes per capita.

“Our climate targets, like those in the Edmonton Declaration, require us to move further and faster than ever before,” said Iveson.

According to the news release, past solar programs in Edmonton have resulted in more than $15 million in local economic activity and reduced more than 3,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year — the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the road.