Provincial Flag of British Columbia Solar Tax Credits, Incentives and Solar Rebates in British Columbia

Summary Data for British Columbia

Province/Territory Capital Victoria
Solar Value Index $612
Solar Energy Produced 5,527 kWh / year
Average retail electricity price (2017 data) 11.08 cents / kWh
Average annual consumption per household (2014 data) 12,264 kWh
Levelized Cost 11.94 cents / kWh
Reached grid parity? Not yet

British Columbia residents might be more environmentally conscious than the average Canadian, but residential solar power has not yet taken off on the west coast. However, the largest commercial PV installation outside of Ontario began operating in Kimberley, British Columbia in June 2015, marking the first time the BC Hydro grid has bought solar electricity. The 1.05 MW system is performing better than expected, producing enough electricity to power about 275 homes.

At 11.08 cents/ kWh, the electricity prices in the province are below the national average of 12.61 cents / kWh. When it comes to average electricity consumption per household, residents of this province consume 12,264 kWh per year, below the national average of 13,300 kWh.

Currently, British Columbia has 2 financial incentive programs and 1 regulatory programs supporting the adoption of solar energy.

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.

List of Solar PV Incentive Programs in British Columbia

Financial Incentives

  • Regional District of Nanaimo Renewable Energy System Incentive $250
    This program enables homeowners in RDN Electoral Areas and the District of Lantzville to save money while upgrading to energy efficient technology in their home. Homeowners that install a solar PV system are eligible to receive the $250 incentive. In addition, effective April 1, 2015, a $400 rebate is available for renewable energy systems that require and obtain a development variance permit. Please include the development variance permit in your submission.
  • PST Tax Exemption
    The following materials and equipment are exempt from PST: Solar photovoltaic collector panels, and wiring, controllers, and devices that convert direct current into alternating current, when they are sold with, and as part of, a system that includes solar photovoltaic collector panels. Solar thermal collector panels, and wiring, pumps, tubing, and heat exchangers, when they are sold with, and as part of, a system that includes solar thermal collector panels.

Regulatory Policies

  • BC Hydro Net Metering Program
    Our net metering program is designed for residential and commercial customers who want to connect a small electricity generating unit to the BC Hydro distribution system. Generating units up to 100 kW in capacity that use a clean or renewable resource are eligible to participate in the program. As a net metering customer with a smart meter, when you generate more electricity than you use, you receive a credit to your account that is applied against your future electricity use. At your anniversary date, if you have an excess generation credit remaining on your account, BC Hydro will pay you at the published rate of 9.99 cents per kWh.

Federal Incentive Programs

    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.

Methodology Notes

  • Average monthly electricity consumption data is from the Canadian Electricity Association (2014 data).
  • Utility rates for the provinces are based on a study published by Hydro Quebec. Rates in effect in April 2017. Source: Comparison of Electricity Prices in Major North American Cities. Utility rates for the territories are based on residential rate data as reported by Qulliq Energy Corporation (as displayed on 27 September 2016); Northwest Territories Power Corporation (effective 1 October 2017); Yukon Housing Corporation (effective 1 July 2016).
  • Annual solar production estimates are based on the analysis performed using our own solar energy calculator, Sunmetrix Discover.
  • Default installation cost is estimated to be $3/watt (in Canadian dollars).
  • The estimated lifetime of solar panels is 25 years for the purposes of calculating the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE).
  • 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 the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

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Written by Simone

Simone Garneau is the co-founder of Sunmetrix, an online consumer education website for residential solar energy. The goal of Sunmetrix is to help homeowners go solar and save money. In addition to 200+ articles about solar energy, Sunmetrix offers homeowners other great resources: a Solar Report for solar energy, Discover, to preview solar energy for your home, and Learn for fun and interactive solar tools.

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Sunmetrix is a Canadian winner of the business innovation contest organized by the U.S. Department of Energy

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