The government of Alberta, Canada, said that they would initiate rebates for homeowners and businesses to expand solar power in the northern province that could provide an essential boost for the renewable energy source.
The rebates would amount to as much as $10,000 for homeowners and up to $500,000 for businesses or non-profit organizations that install solar panels, the province said in a statement.
Solar power is just a blip on the radar at this point in the province. Current capacity for solar energy in Alberta is 2 megawatts. According to the Idaho Public Services Commission, 1 megawatt is enough to power about 650 homes. Two megawatts: 1,300 homes.
Without the new rebates, the Alberta government estimates solar power in the next five years would grow on its own to 30 megawatts – 19,500 homes. But with the discounts, the solar energy build cold reach 140 megawatts by 2022 – 91,000 homes.
That translates to clean power for close to 100,000 homes, but it also saves homeowners money in the long run. A recently developed program in Alberta set up $3.7 million in reserve for municipalities that wanted to install solar panels in publicly owned buildings, community centers, and offices. With the districts that have made use of the reserves so far, 28 local governments in the province were able to save an estimated quarter of a million dollars on electricity bills in one year alone.
These programs are primarily striking in Alberta, which is an oil-rich province with its economy still heavily dependent on the petroleum industry.
The government, however, expects solar power is the wave of the future. The government said as many as 900 new jobs could be created in the next two years in the solar installation industry.
With the new plan starting June 21, homeowners can receive rebates equal to 30 percent of the cost of installation of solar panels to a maximum of $10,000. Businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible for up to 25 percent off the prices, up to $500,000, with rebates calculated at $0.75 per watt.
“This solar program helps Albertans lower their utility bills and invest in their homes,” said Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office Shannon Phillips.
“Solar jobs are growing, and the industry is putting Albertans back to work. Solar electricity puts the power in Albertans’ hands, making life more affordable while diversifying the economy and reducing carbon pollution,” she said.