Solar power is a perfect example of the good things efficiency brings.
There is something amazing about using the sun’s rays to both power your home and reduce your electricity bills.
Efficiency Nova Scotia offers incentives to make solar power more affordable than ever before.
Starting in mid-August, Nova Scotian homeowners will be able to take part in the SolarHomes program.
If you’re a residential customer, you can click here to learn more.
If you’re a contractor interested in the program, click here.
Applications are now available for the SolarHomes program. Rebates will be paid for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that meet all program criteria and are pre-approved by Efficiency Nova Scotia. Your solar installers must also be pre-approved by Efficiency Nova Scotia.
Installing a solar PV system can save you, on average, $1,300 a year on your electricity bill. The SolarHomes program helps Nova Scotians purchase solar energy systems by offering a rebate on a pre-approved solar PV system. SolarHomes gives homeowners more choices and more control over their energy future, while reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
Funding for the program
This solar program is funded by the Government of Canada’s $56 million-dollar commitment to Nova Scotia from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. Efficiency Nova Scotia is administering the program for the province.
SolarHomes offers rebates to Nova Scotia homeowners for installing eligible solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, using installers approved by Efficiency Nova Scotia. To be eligible for rebates, pre-approval is required from Efficiency Nova Scotia prior to installing equipment.
Pre-Approval Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Receiving pre-approval from Efficiency Nova Scotia provides program participants with assurance that a specific rebate amount will be offered to the participant within the timeline indicated in the pre-approval (6 months for existing homes and 12 months for homes under construction).
Only systems installed by an Approved Solar Installer on the Efficiency Trade Network will be eligible for rebates under this program. Installers interested in becoming a member can learn more.
After reviewing SolarHomes program details, it is recommended that you reach out to at least 3 solar installers for quotes. Also, at this time contact your home insurance provider to see if there will be any changes to your policy/coverage.
Once you have decided to move forward with your solar installation, get your chosen solar installer to complete the SolarHomes application along with any required supporting documents.
Wait to receive confirmation from Efficiency Nova Scotia for approval for your rebates. Once approved purchase and install of equipment can proceed. Please note: You must receive pre-approval and complete the installation in the required timeline (6 months for existing homes and 12 months for homes under construction) in order to receive a rebate.
Once installation and final electrical inspection have been completed, get your solar installer to submit the SolarHomes Rebate Application as well as all required documents. Your rebate cheque will be in the mail 6 – 8 weeks after receiving all final documents.
- It’s recommended that you contact your home insurance provider to ensure your proposed solar PV system is covered by your policy.
- Please ensure that you obtain all applicable permits and follow local building and electrical code requirements.
Other solar programs
The SolarHomes program will complement Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) Solar City Program, and rebates will be made available to HRM Solar City participants whose systems are connected on or after June 25, 2018. This means eligible homeowners will be able to access financing through HRM and receive a rebate.
The rebate is $1.00/watt for eligible solar photovoltaic systems. For most systems, the rebate will equate to approximately 30% of the cost of the system.
The average rebate is expected to be about $7,000. The maximum rebate is $10,000, or up to 40% of the eligible system costs (excluding HST).
Program rebate levels are subject to change over time.
- Single family homes (including detached, semi-detached, townhouses and rowhouses) located in Nova Scotia are eligible.
- Seasonal properties may be eligible; however, rebates may be reduced. If a grid-connected residential property is not used year-round but the system is net metered year-round, the rebate level will not change, but will be subject to net metering sizing requirements. For off-grid seasonal residential properties, the rebate is 50% of the standard rebate.
- First Nations Band-owned homes and Co-operative Housing are eligible.
- The program participant must own the home and the equipment (financed and lease-to-own systems are eligible).
- For electrical grid-connected homes, the participating home must have a residential utility account and the utility must allow net metering.
- Expansions to existing systems are permitted as long as the expansion meets the minimum size requirement of 1 kW.
Participants receiving pre-approval from Efficiency Nova Scotia will be given a specified period under which the rebates will be available. This is 6 months for existing homes and 12 months for homes under construction. If this timeline expires without the system being installed and all final documentation received by Efficiency Nova Scotia, the participant will need to re-apply for pre-approval. Rebate levels are subject to change following expiry of this timeline.
Please note: Multi-unit residential, non-profit (non-residential use), commercial, institutional or industrial buildings are not eligible for rebates.
Solar Photovoltaic System Eligibility:
- Panels and inverters must be new and include a permanently affixed nameplate that states the manufacturer and model number.
- The minimum system size needed to qualify for a rebate is 1 kW.
- While there is no set maximum system size, the maximum rebate will be the lesser of $10,000 or 40% of total eligible system costs. Eligible system costs include:
- expenses (excluding HST) for the purchase of the solar PV equipment for the project (i.e. solar PV modules, racking, inverters, transformer (if any), cabling, conduit, fittings, disconnects and monitoring interface);
- expenses (excluding HST) for the installation of the project;
- Solar PV systems can be net-metered (connected to the grid), or they can also be independent of, and not connected to the grid (also known as off-grid).
- If the system is net-metered, there must be compliance with net metering procedures, including completion of the Interconnection Request and Equipment Information Form.
- All Equipment must meet applicable provincial, federal and municipal licenses, permits and approvals. Approved Solar Installers will work with participants to ensure these requirements are met, including adherence to the equipment criteria outlined below.
- All solar PV equipment installed, including array and ancillary equipment, and all installation work must be in compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) and have a CSA or other internationally recognized standards agency symbol. This includes compliance with CEC CSA 22.2 No. 107.1 and be inspected prior to being energized.
- Applicable Solar PV system equipment standards for Nova Scotia include:
- CSA – C61215 (revised 2013) – Crystalline Silicon Terrestrial PV Modules;
- CSA – C61646.10 – Thin Film PV Modules;
- CSA – C62817.15 – Design Qualifications for Solar Trackers (only applicable for ground mounted systems using solar tracking systems);
- CSA – C61730 – PV Module Safety Qualifications;
- UL1741 Standard for Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment for Use with Distributed Energy Resources;
- UL 2703 Standard for Mounting Systems, Mounting Devices, Clamping/Retention Devices, and Ground Lugs for Use with Flat Plate PV Modules and Panels;
- IEC 62109 – Central Inverter Safety Qualifications; and
- UL 1703 – PV System Safety Qualifications. (UL 1703 and IEC 61730 are being merged to create one recognized international standard for PV system safety for all future equipment).
- Note: UL certification indicates compliance with the National Electrical Code in the United States. Any supplier displaying only a UL symbol should be asked to prove compliance with CEC.
- Ancillary equipment for a solar PV system includes the following: AC and DC cabling, combiner boxes, switches, meters, panels, and transformers required to allow the array to feed AC power to the customer’s building or to the grid. Installations must follow CSA SPE-900-13 Solar PV rooftop installation best practices guideline (2013).
- Grid connected installations must comply with CEC section 64 as well as Nova Scotia Power interconnection guide, corresponding with section 84 of CEC.
- Off-grid connected systems should follow all generally accepted industry best practices including CSA SPE – 900-13, as well as be in compliance with the CEC Section 64 for renewable energy systems.
- Modules must carry a minimum warranty of 20-year power performance and 10-year manufacturing. Inverter(s) and/or micro-inverter(s) must carry a minimum 10-year manufacturing warranty.
Solar Photovoltaic System Installation Requirements:
- Systems must be designed and installed by an Efficiency Nova Scotia Approved Solar Installer. Residents are not permitted to install the system themselves.
- Equipment must be installed on a rooftop or ground-mounted. Systems installed on portable or temporary structures are not eligible. This would include, for example, recreational vehicles and trailers.
- Equipment must be either installed or connected on or after June 25, 2018 to be eligible for a rebate. The date on the signed final electrical inspection will be used to verify the equipment installation date and the date(s) on the Net Metering Interconnection Agreement will be used to verify the connected date
1. What is a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system?
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is a solar technology that uses light from the sun to generate electricity for the home. The main components of a solar PV system are: an array of solar panels, a racking or mounting system to affix the panels to the roof, and inverters to convert the electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) which is the form of electricity that your home and the electrical grid work with.
2. Does a solar PV system need batteries?
Off-grid homes that are not connected to an electrical utility do require additional hardware and a battery bank to store the solar generated electricity so it can be used through the night while the sun isn’t shining. However, Nova Scotia Power offers Enhanced Net Metering. Where net metering is available and approved, a back-up battery system is not required. The home will utilize solar generated electricity in real time, and any excess electricity is sent to the electrical grid. When the sun isn’t shining, the home utilizes grid electricity instead.
3. What is Net-Metering?
Net metering is defined by Nova Scotia Power as:
“If your generating unit produces more energy than you use at any one time, the extra electricity will flow onto the local grid for others to use. On the other hand, if your generator isn’t producing as much as you need, you can still draw from the grid to make up the difference. When you become a net metering customer, we’ll install a bi-directional electricity meter to monitor and record the flow of electricity to and from your home or business. If at the end of billing period you’ve produced more energy than you’ve used, you’ll receive a credit on your next bill. If at the end of a year you’ve still produced more electricity than you’ve used, we’ll provide a cash payment for the surplus energy that has not already been applied to your power bill at a rate equal to the cost of energy from the grid.”
If you are a customer of Nova Scotia Power, you will be you will be required to enter into an Interconnection Agreement with Nova Scotia Power to receive an electrical permit to produce electricity from your system. To be pre-approved for the Solar Homes program, a copy of the completed Net Metering Interconnection Request and Equipment Information Form (ICR) must be included in your application.
For more information on net-metering, please click here.
4. May I speak to someone to learn more about SolarHomes?
You bet! Please send an email to SolarPV@efficiencyns.ca or speak to one of our Energy Solutions Advisors at 1-877-999-6035.
5. Who will install my Solar PV system?
Only systems installed by an Approved Solar Installer on the Efficiency Trade Network will be eligible for rebates under this program. We recommend you receive quotes from at least three installers.
6. How much does it cost to install a solar PV system?
The cost of a system depends on several factors. It is recommended that you get at least 3 quotes from Approved Solar Installers before making a decision on which installer to work with.
The installed cost of solar panels in Nova Scotia is in the range of $2 to $3.5 per installed Watt, and the actual average cost in Nova Scotia in 2017 was $2.80/installed Watt (before HST). For an average system size of 6kW, this would equate to a cost in the range of $20,000.
7. How much electricity will a solar PV system generate?
The performance of a solar PV system is rated in terms of kWh / kW, which is a measure of how much energy it produces in a year (in kWh) for capacity of the system (in kW).
Many installations in Nova Scotia achieve in the range of 1100kWh/kW of annual energy production. This equates to just under $170 in annual energy production for each kW of installed capacity. For an average system size of 6kW, this would equate to $1100 per year of solar electricity production.
8. How do I know if my home is suitable for Solar PV?
Your ENS-Approved Solar Installer will do an assessment on your home to determine its suitability. The Approved Solar Installer will consider the state/condition of the roof (for rooftop systems), shading factors such as nearby trees, slope, area, and azimuth (compass heading). The ideal conditions for a solar PV system are that there is little to no shading, the roof is south facing, has a 45 degree slope, and is in good shape.
9. What is the lifespan of a Solar PV system?
Solar PV systems typically are warrantied for 10 years, with a 25 year performance warranty. Systems are expected to last 30 years or more.
10. Is there an end date for this program?
The federal funding will exist up until March 2022, and the current budget will allow for roughly 2,000 homes to participate.
11. Are commercial buildings eligible for rebates under this new program?
No. This program is limited to single family homes in Nova Scotia. Multi-unit residential, non-profit (non-residential use), commercial, institutional or industrial buildings are not eligible for rebates.
Do you have more questions?
Contact us at SolarPV@efficiencyns.ca.
If you are a customer of Nova Scotia Power, you will be required to enter into an Interconnection Agreement with Nova Scotia Power to receive an electrical permit to produce electricity from your solar PV system. To be pre-approved for the SolarHomes program, a copy of the completed Net Metering Interconnection Request and Equipment Information Form (ICR) as provided by your selected solar install, will be included in your application.
For more information on net-metering, please click here.
Participants can combine their SolarHomes rebate with solar financing options available in Nova Scotia. Examples of financing options can be found below.
HRM Solar City
The SolarHomes program will complement Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) Solar City Program. This program is only available to homeowners in HRM. To learn more about financing through HRM Solar City, please click here.
Solar Scotia Energy
Solar Nova Scotia
Solar Nova Scotia is a volunteer run organization with a mission “to promote and facilitate the adoption of solar energy in Nova Scotia.” If you’re interested in learning more about solar, and for more information on Solar Nova Scotia, please click here.
Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA)
The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) is a national trade association that represents the solar energy industry throughout Canada. For more information on CanSIA, please click here.