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Solar Tax Credits, Incentives and Solar Rebates in Alberta
Latest Update:by Simone Garneau
|Solar Value Index||$615|
|Solar Energy Produced||5,324 kWh / year|
|Average retail electricity price (2016 data)||11.55 cents / kWh|
|Average annual consumption per household (2014 data)||8,676 kWh|
|Installed solar PV capacity (2014 data)||6.4 MW|
|Levelized Cost||14.46 cents / kWh|
|Reached grid parity?||Not yet|
|Solar Installer||City||Sunmetrix Solar Score||Sunmetrix Cashback|
|KCP Energy, Inc||Calgary||$300|
|Solar Optix Energy Services||Lethbridge||$250|
While renewable energy is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Alberta, things are changing in the province. The province has committed to reducing its reliance on coal generated power, and with an abundance of sunshine, especially in southern Alberta, solar energy is ripe to take off.
At 11.55 cents/ kWh, the electricity prices in the province are below the national average of 12.2 cents / kWh. When it comes to average electricity consumption per household, residents of this province consume 8,676 kWh per year, below the national average of 13,300 kWh.
Although the cost of solar power in the province didn't reach grid parity yet, the incentives listed below can significantly increase the affordability of solar energy.
- NEW: Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program
The Residential and Commercial Solar Program will build on the existing programs in place in Alberta (such as the Alberta Municipal Solar Program and the On-Farm Solar PV Program). This program is designed to make solar power affordable for more Albertans, leading to new panels on 10,000 Alberta rooftops by 2020. It is expected to be implemented in the form of a rebate with a total budget of $36 million. The press release by the government specifically mentions "...cut solar installation costs by up to 30 per cent for residences, and up to 25 per cent for businesses and non-profits." The details will be announced in the coming months.
- On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics Program
The program provides funding towards solar photovoltaics on Alberta farms. This enables producers to conserve non-renewable fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, ultimately reducing the environmental footprint of Alberta's agriculture industry. Grants are calculated based on an eligible system's nominal wattage, up to a maximum percentage of system cost. Third-party contractor-installed systems are funded at a higher rate than self-installed systems. A maximum of 100 kW of solar PV capacity or $50,000 per applicant is available through the program. Who can participate? Producers in Alberta with a minimum of $10,000 farm commodity or livestock production income.
- Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP)
The Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP) provides financial rebates to Alberta municipalities who install solar photovoltaics (PV) on municipal facilities or land and complete public engagement for the project. Participants are eligible to receive a rebate per watt of total installed capacity ($/W). The rate tier is determined by the total installed capacity of a project submitted through a single AMSP Application. (Total Installed Capacity (DC)<10 kilowatts: $0.90/Watt; 10 kilowatts to <150 kilowatts: $0.75/Watt; 150 kilowatts to <2 Megawatts: $0.60/Watt; 2 Megawatts to 5 Megawatts $0.55/Watt). The rebate provided by the MCCAC will not exceed 25% of eligible expenses. All funding is issued after the MCCAC has verified that the project is complete.
- Alberta Micro-Generation
On February 1, 2008, the government of Alberta passed the Micro-Generation Regulation. This regulation allows Albertans, using renewable resources or alternative energy, to generate their own environmentally friendly electricity and receive credit from any excess electricity they send into the electricity grid. The intent of the regulation is for the micro-generator to be self-sufficient. In Alberta, micro-generation is defined as being the generation of electrical energy from a generating unit with a total capacity of one megawatt (MW) or less, is connected to the distribution system, exclusively uses sources of renewable or alternative energy (such as solar photovoltaic, small-scale hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal and fuel cell) and the electrical energy output is intended to meet all or a portion of the customer's electricity needs. Owners of electrical distribution systems are expected to provide connection services for micro-generators.
- Unfortunately, there are no federal incentives for residential solar PV projects in Canada. However, if you own a business, the following programs may be applicable.
- Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) Renewable Energy
The Government of Canada makes clean energy projects, such as solar energy, wind energy and energy from waste, more fiscally attractive for industry by providing business income tax incentives. Under Classes 43.1 and 43.2 in Schedule II of the Income Tax Regulations, certain capital costs of systems that produce energy by using renewable energy sources or fuels from waste, or conserve energy by using fuel more efficiently are eligible for accelerated capital cost allowance. Under Class 43.1, eligible equipment may be written-off at 30 percent per year on a declining balance basis. In general, equipment that is eligible for Class 43.1 but is acquired after February 22, 2005 and before year 2020 may be written-off at 50 percent per year on a declining balance basis under Class 43.2.
- Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses (CRCE)
CRCE is designed to encourage commercial investments in clean energy generation and energy conservation projects by providing income tax incentives for certain start-up expenses associated with these projects.
- Average monthly electricity consumption data is from the Canadian Electricity Association (2014 data).
- Average retail electricity prices are based on studies published by Manitoba Hydro and the annual Hydro Quebec report "Comparison of Electricity Prices in Major North American Cities" and is based on 1,000 kWh/month consumption.
- Annual solar production estimates are based on the analysis performed using our own solar energy calculator, Sunmetrix Discover.
- Installed solar PV capacity figures are from Natural Resources Canada's report entitled "Photovoltaic Technology Status and Prospects: Canadian Annual Report (2015)".
- The national average for utility rates in Canada excludes the rates in Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
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1. Defined Terms.
a. Program Website: http://sunmetrix.com/
b. INSTALLER: The solar PV installation company either selected by the QUOTE-REQUESTER or by Sunmetrix.
c. QUOTE-REQUESTER is a potential residential solar customer that meets all of the following criteria: (1) owns his or her own house in a state/province where the INSTALLER operates; (2) is a legal resident of the United States or Canada; (3) is 18 years of age or older; and (4) otherwise meets Sunmetrix’s requirements, as may be updated by Sunmetrix from time to time.
d. REFERRAL FEE: The amount the INSTALLER agrees to pay Sunmetrix upon completion of the residential INSTALLATION. For U.S. companies, the indicated amount is in U.S. dollars. For Canadian companies, the indicated amount is in Canadian dollars. In the case of commercial solar quote requests, the referral fee is determined on case by case basis.
e. CASH-BACK: The amount paid to the QUOTE-REQUESTER, representing 50% of the REFERRAL FEE paid upon completion of the residential solar photo-voltaic INSTALLATION. For U.S. residents, the indicated CASH-BACK amount is in U.S. dollars. For Canadian residents, the indicated CASH-BACK amount is in Canadian dollars.
f. INSTALLATION: The solar photo-voltaic INSTALLATION is for a residential system with a minimum installed capacity of 2 kW DC. Systems that are less than the minimum will not qualify for the CASH-BACK program.