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Solar City Program approved for extension

The program offers home owners access to innovative solar energy options
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081418-solar program
Approved solar installers work on the roof of a house (Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia)

The Solar City program is going to be continued after a motion from Halifax Regional Council was passed today. 

The program finances clean energy installations such as solar panels for home owners. 

The solar energy options available include electric as well as solar hot air and solar hot water. It was started in 2013 and is set to expire in May 2019, but after today's vote, the program will continue to run. 

There are no set goals for the extension, but the main focus is to spread awareness about how the environment is affected by fossil fuel.

Beyond the seeming success of the program among residents, staff also say more non-residential properties are becoming interested in taking advantage of it, including places of worship and charities. To be eligible, those properties need express consent of council.

Staff say to date, the largest system approved by HRM was a solar electric system to Woodlawn United Church in Dartmouth.

Applicants can also install solar energy systems by dealing with contractors themselves, but they will have to pay the cost out of pocket. 

A number of city staff, including councillor Shawn Cleary have had solar panels installed through the program. 

There are also 27 solar energy systems installed on municipal properties, said Kevin Boutilier, the solar city officer for HRM. There hasn't been a new installation on a municipal property since 2015, and are no current plans. 

Councillor Lindell Smith would like to see more clean energy systems used by the municipality, hoping that it will set an example for residents. He would also like to see the program extended to multi-unit residential buildings. 

According to a staff report, since May 2016 there have been 1,979 registrations for the program. 216 of those applications were approved, and 160 have been executed. 

So far this year, Boutilier said, 40 new solar system applications have been approved.

In June, the Nova Scotia government announced a four-year rebate for residential solar systems, which is funded federally through the Low Carbon Economy Fund. 




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Danielle McCreadie

About the Author: Danielle McCreadie

Danielle spent a year freelancing for various publications in Halifax and did a brief stint at HalifaxToday.ca before making the move to radio.
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