Alberta’s Residential and Commercial Solar Program Overview

“Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan includes a commitment to reinvest all revenue from the provincial carbon levy (which came into effect January 1, 2017) into Alberta’s economy, including $645 million over five years to Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA). Investment in energy efficiency and community energy system programs will help to reduce energy use and associated costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and support green jobs.

The Residential and Commercial Solar Program will offer incentives to households, businesses, and non-profit organizations to encourage the installation of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The program offers capital cost incentives to reduce the upfront costs of solar PV systems to consumers, thus improving the business case for installations. The program will use a prescriptive approach whereby one-time, fixed per-Watt rebates are provided to participants who install systems that qualify under the provincial Micro-Generation Regulation (Alberta Regulation 27/2008).

The residential-sector program stream will provide an incentive rate of $0.75 per-Watt for systems up to 15kW in size. For residential customers, incentives will be limited to the lesser of 30% of eligible system costs or $10,000.

The commercial/not-for-profit sector stream will provide an incentive rate of $0.75 per-Watt for systems up to 5MW in size. For commercial and non-profit customers, incentives will be limited to the lesser of 25% of eligible system costs or $500,000.

Eligible participants include all residential homeowners, commercial, or non-profit corporations that:

  • Install a grid-connected solar PV system, in accordance with Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation;
  • Are not eligible to participate in the following incentive programs: the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP), the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program, and Growing Forward; or other provincial solar incentive programs that may follow;
  • Have not already received an incentive for a solar PV system on the same parcel/property under this program or another provincial solar incentive program;
  • Are not receiving combined incentives from government programs in excess of 100 percent of eligible system costs;
  • Own a property (or have long-term rights to a property) with sufficient solar exposure;
  • and Are designed and installed by a qualified installer (not self-installed) using CSA approved panels and components.

The Residential and Commercial Solar Program will not offer financing or leasing options to eligible program participants. However, in cases where program participants apply for financing or leasing through another program, the Program will work with the finance provider to ensure that participants can take advantage of both opportunities in a way that is streamlined and maximizes participant benefits. The incentives provided by the Program must flow directly to the program participant; must only be used for installation and equipment costs (and not operations or maintenance costs of the system); and must be used for payment of upfront capital costs (the rebate cannot be distributed over time).

The Program is expected to launch June 1, 2017 and have an installed capacity target of 28MW from the residential sector and 20MW from the commercial/not-for-profit sector.  Government projections show that under the program (between 2017 and 2019), as many as 10,700 new solar systems representing 48MW of capacity could be deployed in Alberta under the described incentive program. However, adoption rates are dependent on system costs, among other factors, and could be higher or lower as a result.