After years of waiting, Canada finally has a federally-funded solar incentive program

The Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden represented a critical step forward in the fight against climate change. The summit underscored the urgency of the climate crisis, along with the breadth of economic opportunities associated with decarbonization.

Throughout the summit, countless nations committed to more aggressive carbon emission reduction targets, including Canada, which pledged reductions of between 40-45% of 2005 levels by 2030 (compared to a 30% reduction).

Not long ago, I wrote about the need for a federally implemented solar incentive as a way of kickstarting Canada’s post-pandemic recovery and fighting climate change. Canada now appears to be moving forward with such a policy, according to the recent announcement regarding the creation of the Canada Greener Homes Program.

This initiative offers homeowners grants of up to CAD $5,000 to be put towards energy-saving projects, including high-efficiency water heaters, smart thermostats, improved insulation, upgraded windows and doors, and photovoltaic solar panels.

As of right now, there is no specification regarding whether ground-mounted solar panels are covered by the program, but more details are expected in the coming weeks. The amount of CAD $600 is earmarked to cover the cost of energy evaluations, a requirement for homeowners to access the grant funding.

In total, the Canada’s federal government expects to award 700,000 in grants, at an overall cost of CAD $2.6 billion over seven years.

Eligibility for the program is broad, including detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, rowhouses, and residential units in mixed space zoning with no more than three floors and 600 metres squared. Additionally, buildings must be older than six months to qualify for the funding.

Homeowners have to register online via the Greener Homes Grant Portal, after which they will be able to book an EnerGuide Evaluation. This evaluation involves measuring the property’s existing energy efficiency status and to determine the homeowner’s grant savings potential.

The program now has over 30,000 applicants (at the time of writing this article), which is likely to cause mild delays, as the government is still training 2,000 new energy advisors to support its deployment.

The program is exactly what’s needed to invigorate the cleantech economy throughout Canada.

Prior to this federal announcement, solar incentives were only offered through provincial programs; subsequently, partisanship represented a significant barrier to growing Canada’s clean economy. With the removal of political obstacles, the solar industry will likely witness substantial market growth in the coming years, especially as the program will run for the next seven, ensuring a level of market stability not seen to date.

“This program will be critical to the success of Canada’s broader national climate plan,” says Derick Lila, pvbuzz Founder and Managing Editor. “A reinvigorated commitment to climate action from the Canadian government is cause to celebrate for cleantech firms and enthusiasts, who’ll have an excellent chance to cash in on this opportunity.”

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