Is Solar Energy a Viable Option in Canada?
Solar energy has become a popular choice for Canadians due to its many benefits. Not only does it help save on electricity costs, it also reduces carbon emissions and promotes sustainability.
By installing solar panels, homeowners and businesses can generate their own clean energy and even earn money by selling excess power back to the grid. Furthermore, the government offers incentives and rebates for those who make the switch to solar, making it a financially smart decision as well. With all these advantages, it’s no wonder why more and more Canadians are embracing solar energy.
Here are several reasons why solar energy is a worthwhile investment in Canada:
- Reduced Carbon Emissions: Embracing solar energy allows homeowners to alleviate the carbon emissions associated with traditional energy sources such as gas and coal. By simply installing solar panels, a significant portion of a home’s daily carbon emissions can be offset. Additionally, when coupled with a battery storage system, solar panels can fully offset carbon emissions.
Economic Advantages: Solar energy offers a cost-effective means of generating electricity. Technological advancements have led to a considerable decrease in the cost of solar panels, making them more affordable for individuals and businesses. Furthermore, solar energy costs are predictable and stable, unlike other energy sources that are subject to price fluctuations. This reliability and affordability make solar energy a preferable option for residents in Canada.
Dependability: Investing in solar energy for your home safeguards you against the rising electricity prices year after year. Moreover, it provides you with a dependable energy source that reduces your carbon footprint and lessens your reliance on the utility grid for power generation.
Durability and Low Maintenance: Solar power represents a wise financial investment for Canadian homeowners, as most solar systems have a lifespan of 20 years or more and require minimal maintenance. By selecting a reputable brand like Sol-Ark for purchasing your solar panel system, you can benefit from expert guidance on long-term care and maintenance requirements for your system.
The government of Canada provides various incentives and rebates to promote the adoption of solar energy, making it more accessible and affordable for homeowners. Here are the key solar incentives and rebates available in Canada in 2023.
For Residential: Greener Homes Grant
The Greener Homes Grant enables Canadian homeowners to save money on energy-efficient upgrades, including renewable energy installations, new windows, and doors.
Eligible property owners can receive up to $5,000 for energy-efficient retrofits and up to $600 to cover the cost of home energy assessments. The grant operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
To qualify, homeowners must arrange a home evaluation with an energy advisor. The solar panels and inverter should meet CSA standards, and the solar panel’s energy capacity must be 1 kW or higher. Purchasing panels and equipment from Canadian distributors is required. Additionally, a portion of the grant can be used for resiliency measures, such as batteries for the solar panel system (up to $1,000 when combined with another energy-efficient upgrade).
It’s important to note that the grant may not cover the entire cost of installing a solar system but provides a starting point, making this environmentally-friendly upgrade more accessible to homeowners.
In addition to the grant, the Canadian government offers an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 to homeowners for major home retrofits. Unlike the grant, this loan is repaid by homeowners, but without any interest. The loan is available to a maximum of 200,000 homeowners, helping overcome the initial cost barrier of setting up a solar system by allowing repayment over time.
For Businesses: Government Solar Tax Credits
The government of Canada has proposed a refundable tax credit on capital investments in solar panels, low-carbon heating equipment, and stationary electricity storage systems.
1. Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit: A refundable 30% tax credit on capital cost of investments made by taxable entities in wind, solar PV and energy-storage technologies. This Credit will be available to all project spending starting today, March 28, 2023, though to 2034.
2. Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit: A newly announced, refundable 15% tax credit on the capital costs of investments made by non-taxable entities, such as Indigenous communities, municipally owned utilities and Crown corporations that make investments in renewable energy, energy storage and inter-provincial transmission and other non-emitting electricity infrastructure.
To claim the solar tax credit, individuals must owe federal taxes or have income withheld for taxes. This credit is not a cash rebate but can be claimed for the year of solar power system installation, with the possibility of carrying over unused credits to future tax years.
How to maximize your solar energy system’s potential?
To optimize your solar energy system and maximize its benefits, it is crucial to engage in careful planning, ongoing maintenance, and efficient energy usage. Here are some key tips to help you make the most of your investment in solar energy:
Conduct a home energy audit: Before installing a solar energy system, assess your energy consumption through a home energy audit. Identify areas where you can reduce energy usage, such as using energy-efficient light bulbs, weatherizing your home, and installing low-flow showerheads. By minimizing energy consumption, you can enhance the advantages of your solar energy system.
Select the appropriate solar panel system: Recognize that solar panel systems should be tailored to individual needs. Factors like energy consumption, roof space, and budget influence the size and capacity of your system. Seek guidance from a professional solar energy consultant who can advise on the suitable panels, inverters, and batteries required to optimize energy production.
Monitor energy usage: Install a monitoring system to track energy consumption and production. This empowers you to understand your energy usage patterns and identify opportunities for reducing consumption. By leveraging this information, you can maximize the benefits of your solar energy system.
Use energy efficiently: Efficient energy utilization is vital for making the most of your solar energy system. Simple practices like turning off lights and electronics when not in use and employing energy-efficient appliances contribute to reducing dependence on the grid and maximizing the advantages of solar power.
Invest in energy storage: Energy storage solutions, such as batteries, allow you to store surplus energy generated during the day for later use. This facilitates optimal utilization of your solar energy system and provides backup power during outages.
Maintain your system regularly: Regular maintenance is crucial for sustaining optimal performance. Clean the solar panels, inspect for damage, and ensure all components are functioning correctly. Professional solar energy companies can provide maintenance services to help keep your system in top condition.
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Canada Greener Homes Grant. (n.d.). Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved from https://natural-resources.canada.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-initiative/canada-greener-homes-grant/canada-greener-homes-grant/23441
Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit. (n.d.). Renewable Energy Association of Canada. Retrieved from https://renewablesassociation.ca/news-release-2023-federal-budget-ushers-in-new-era-for-canadian-renewables/#:~:text=Clean%20Technology%20Investment%20Tax%20Credit,%2C%202023%2C%20though%20to%202034.
Net Metering. (n.d.). Ontario Energy Board. Retrieved from https://www.oeb.ca/consumer-information-and-protection/net-metering#:~:text=To%20be%20eligible%20for%20net,exchange%20for%20on%2Dbill%20credits.