New and Improved Incentive Schemes in Canada
 New and Improved Incentive Schemes in Canada

New and Improved Incentive Schemes in Canada

Canadians benefit from a series of improvements that the federal supporting measures for solar thermal technology brought forth. First of all, the funding for the ecoEnergy Retrofit Homes Program – a programme for residential home owners – has been increased by 300 million Canadian Dollars (CAD). The rebate for the solar thermal system of an individual family rose from CAD 500 to CAD 1,250.  

In addition, the federal government has granted a tax credit for homeowners since the 1st of February 2009, as part of the Economic Action Plan budget. Families who pay between CAD 1,000 and CAD 10,000 to renovate their homes will receive a 15 % income tax credit – with the final cap being at CAD 1,350. All expenses that incurred for renovations, including the payments for solar water heater systems, are eligible for the tax credit.  

“This is fantastic news,” says Liz Kelly, project manager from SolarBC, a project of the Sustainable Energy Association in British Columbia. “The incentives available for British Columbians will now cover approximately 50 % of the costs; solar hot water is a really affordable option.”  

It is indeed an appealing option, since the two incentive measures can be combined. The tax credit can be claimed for the total value of the solar thermal system and the householder does not have to subtract the value of the grant when the credit is calculated. Also, SolarBC runs a programme, supported by the federal and provincial governments, for residential home owners whose incentives could be added on top of the two measures. The following table shows a calculation example of SolarBC.  

Please note that a few more provinces besides British Columbia – for example, Ontario and Saskatchewan – compliment the ecoEnergy Retrofit programme in different ways. Details can be found in the database of incentive programmes  

Typical System Cost 6,700 CAD
Rebate of EcoEnergy Retrofit programme 1,250 CAD
SolarBC discount 1,000 CAD
Federal tax credit (approx) 800 CAD
LiveSmartBC 125 CAD
PowerSense 300 CAD
Net cost to consumer 3,225 CAD

Five different incentive programmes can be combined, for example, in the Canadian province of British Columbia when purchasing a solar water heater. PowerSense is a rebate programme by the electricity utility FortisBC, set up for costumers with existing electric hot water boilers. LiveSmart BC is a provincial efficiency incentive programme, which contributes CAD 125 to a solar water heater.
Source: SolarBC

Further improvements were announced by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) for the ecoEnergy for Renewable Heat programme. This subsidy scheme supports commercial solar heating projects either with water collectors or with air collectors. Since the first of March 2009, the maximum payment was increased from CAD 80,000 to CAD 400,000 for solar water collector (but not for solar air collector) projects. Money will not run out until the end of the programme in March 2011, because the demand was lower in the first year than had been expected. “We forecast that sufficient funds will be available to complete the four years of the programme,” confirms Al Clark, senior advisor & manager for the ecoEnergy for Renewable Heat programme. “I estimate that CAD 12.4 million were spent in the first two years.” The total fund of the projects is CAD 36 million.  

More information about federal programmes:

Ecoenergy retrofit programme:

ecoEnergy renewable heat program: heat program 

More information about provincial programmes:

Find a full list of provincial incentives for energy efficiency measures and solar water heaters in residential housings:
Provincial incentive programmes in British Columbia: 

Livesmart BC:

Baerbel Epp

Bärbel Epp is Founder and Director of the German communication and market research agency solrico and editor-in-chief of