Albertans take a shine to solar power

November 15, 2018

Alberta’s solar industry has grown by five times since 2015, diversifying the economy, creating jobs and helping save Albertans money on their energy bills.

The province is home to some of Canada’s best renewable resources – especially solar energy. Demand for solar projects has increased thanks primarily to Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, benefiting municipalities, Indigenous communities, schools, homes, farms, businesses and non-profits.

To support the growing demand, the Government of Alberta has increased incentive funding to programs run by Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.

“Alberta is an energy province, and our investments in renewable energy have spurred unbelievable growth in the solar industry.  We are supporting hundreds of jobs, saving Albertans money on energy bills and contributing to our renewable energy targets set out in our Climate Leadership Plan. Albertans are eager to install solar, and provincial programs make it that much easier.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office

The rapid growth of Alberta’s solar sector since 2015 means:

  • The solar industry has grown by nearly 500 per cent.
  • About 3,100 solar installations have been completed.  
  • Installed solar capacity has increased from six MW in 2015 to 35 MW in 2018.
  • More than 300 certified companies have installed solar projects across the province.
  • Albertans have conserved enough energy to power a city the size of Leduc.
  • Energy consumers will save $92 million on energy bills as a result of installations (over the lifetime of the projects).

“With the implementation of the Climate Leadership Plan, these provincial programs have allowed Alberta’s burgeoning solar industry to grow and further establish itself, while also creating many small business, employment and training opportunities. At the same time, government rebates continue to play an important role in helping encourage the adoption of new technologies.”

Susan Petrina, board chair, Solar Energy Society of Alberta

“Incentives develop the awareness and demand for solar and energy efficiency industries in Alberta. As demand for the services we provide grows, specialized expertise, unique business systems and innovative strategies also grow to meet that demand. These programs have been an effective catalyst towards achieving our collective climate change objectives.”

Dean Turgeon, president and CEO, Generate Energy Ltd.

Increased support for solar energy programs

Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Residential and Commercial Solar Program has played an important role in advancing solar in the province. Since April 2017, more than 950 installations have been completed. By 2019, the program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half a million tonnes – the same as taking 70,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

To provide Albertans with even more incentive to adopt solar, Energy Efficiency Alberta is increasing solar rebate levels by 15 per cent for residences ($.075/watt to $0.90/watt) and 25 per cent for non-profits ($0.75/watt to $1.00/watt). The per-project cap for businesses and non-profits will also be raised from $500,000 to $1 million.

“Our first year of operations confirmed that energy efficiency and renewable energy have enormous potential to save money and greenhouse gas emissions. Now we’re delivering even more value to Albertans through offerings like customizable programs for residents and businesses, impressive returns on investment and, as of today, increased incentives to install solar technology.”

Monica Curtis, CEO, Energy Efficiency Alberta

In addition, the Government of Alberta is providing an additional $7.5 million to help Alberta municipalities develop solar projects within their communities through the Alberta Municipal Solar Program. Managed by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, first-time applicants to the program will also receive an additional rebate incentive of $0.25/watt.

“The Alberta Municipal Solar Program has been wildly successful, benefiting municipalities and community-related organizations across Alberta by helping diversify their power sources and lower their energy bills. Thanks to continued support from Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re extending the program with additional funding to meet the growing demand and support first-time applicants. The future is bright!”

Trina Innes, Director, Municipal Climate Change Action Centre

The Alberta Municipal Solar Program has supported 60 projects representing 28 municipalities, resulting in an estimated annual savings to municipalities of over $675,000 on power bills. To learn more, visit www.mccac.ca/programs/AMSP.

Click here for the Government of Alberta announcement.