Building owners who wish to reap the benefits of solar energy often inquire about the availability of incentives or rebates for installing solar panels in British Columbia.

As rebates and grants for solar installation updates continuously, this is a very fair inquiry. Who wouldn’t want to save some money!

If you are a building owner, then this article is for you. The purpose of this article is to inform you about the solar incentives, rebates, and grants available for homes, offices or electric vehicles in British Columbia (BC) province.

 

How incentives or rebates make solar panel installation easier?

The cost of installation depends on the size of the solar energy system you need, the intricacy of the work to install, the quality of the equipment you use, and the experience of your dedicated solar service provider.

The average electricity consumption of a British Columbian home is 11,000 kWh annually. A solar array with a capacity of 1 kW placed in your B.C. home will generate on average around 1,000 kWh of electricity each year while in some parts of BC the energy production can be as much as 1350 kWh per year. Thus the average home will require an 11 kW solar system to become net zero electricity.

Based on the roof tilting and azimuth angle, your solar contractor professionals will calculate the exact size of your solar panel.

Solar installation cost per watt average around $2.50 in British Columbia. For $2.50/watt, the 11 kW grid-tied solar system will cost you around $27,500. The cost generally includes essential equipment, clearances, design, electrical work and skilled installation.

The cost can vary depending on the location you live in British Columbia.  More remote areas may be more expensive than urban areas.  Some jurisdictions have higher permitting costs associated with adding solar.  And, of course, some areas are sunnier than others so you can get more solar energy production for the same sized array than in a cloudier location.

For example, the 11,000 kWh annual consumption in Burnaby requires an 11 kW system to offset 100% of the electricity used.  That same house in Cranbrook, BC (the sunniest city in the province at 1,243 kWh/kw/year) would need only a 9 kW solar array. Because you will have to pay for the entire installation upfront, various federal, non-federal, provincial, and regional subsidies, rebates, and incentives will reduce your financial burden and help you get a solar system installed on your BC property.

 

Will the regulatory policies for solar systems help you to save money in BC?

The net metering program is a regulatory policy in British Columbia. This net metering program allows your solar energy system to act as a micro-generator. This program is designed for both residential and commercial solar customers who want a grid connected solar system.

As per the BC net metering rules, using a bidirectional smart meter, you can sell the excess energy generated by your solar system and earn credit. You can use the credit when your solar system energy production is shorter than your demand.

You should aim for net-zero credit. If you have offsets in your energy charge, you must pay for the offsets. Both BC Hydro and Fortis BC have two tier pricing systems and Nelson Hydro has a single tier.

There are different net metering rules depending on who your service provider is.  With BC Hydro you are limited to maximum 100 kW of installed solar.  For Fortis BC and Nelson Hydro, the limit is 50 kW.  Penticton Hydro allows complex systems up to 250 kW.

 

With all net metering permits, surplus energy is reimbursed annually at the market price for electricity.

 

Will you receive any federal solar grants in BC?

 

If you opt to install solar power in your home or business, you may qualify to receive federal grants – Canada Greener Homes Grants, Solar tax rebate for businesses, Interest-free loans, and GST/HST new housing incentives.

 

Canada Greener Homes Grant:

 

Our houses, offices, and other buildings are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. That is why our government provides greener home grants including in British Columbia (B.C.) to ensure that our lives are energy efficient.

 

As a homeowner in British Columbia (like in Creston, Kelowna ,Vernon, Nelson, Cranbrook and other parts of B.C.), you may be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000.With this grant, you can upgrade your primary residence to be more energy efficient such as installing on-grid solar systems on the roof or ground. You may also be eligible to receive up to $1,000 for energy storage devices like a batteries. Hyperlink-https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-grant/23441)

 

Solar tax rebate for businesses:

 

The sole existing government solar energy incentive for businesses is enhanced depreciation under the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) scheme, section 43.2 of the Income Tax Regulation. This commercial solar incentive allows a company to deduct 100% of the total assets in the first year of purchase.

 

If you are planning to install a solar system in your commercial buildings in B.C., you will be provided CCA depending on your income profits.

 

For example, if your income profit per year is below $500,000 (tax bracket is 13%) and you install solar panels for $200,000, you can get a write-off of 50% annually based on the decline.

 

Based on this scenario, your incentive amount will be $27,531.25 per year. For the same amount of installation cost, you will get $53,062.50 annually if your yearly income profit is above $500,000 (tax bracket is 26% in this case). This happens because the tax bracket increases with your income profits.

 

Contact us (hyperlink sales@empowerenergy.ca) to find out how this applies to your situation, but before that consult with an accountant in British Columbia about depreciation and tax rebates.

 

Interest-free loan:

 

If you intend to turn your BC home into a solar home, you will soon be able to get loans free of interest up to $40,000 from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). You will be eligible to take loans once you complete retrofits as suggested by an authorized EnerGuide (hyperlink-https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/energuide/12523) energy assessment.

 

Federal GST/HST new housing incentives:

 

If you are investing substantial sums of money to make your B.C. property more energy-efficient, this incentive can be extremely beneficial to you.  You as a homeowner may be able to take back a portion of the GST or HST paid on newly constructed or substantially refurbished houses.

 

To check your eligibility, you can visit here

 

 

Will you get any renewable energy incentives in British Columbia?

 

British Columbia is the only province that has a PST exemption for solar power.

 

PST Tax exemption:

 

British Columbia’s major incentives come from the PST exemption. With this rebate, you can bear the installation cost of solar systems that include solar photovoltaic panels, inverters, converters, and cabling.

 

As stated earlier, the average household consumes around 11,000 kWh of electrical energy in British Columbia.

 

In Vancouver, if you install a 1 kW solar system, it will generate approximately 1007 kWh of electrical energy per year. To meet your yearly demand, you need to install a 10.92 kW solar system in your Vancouver house. This will cost you around $27,965. For this costing, your savings will be $27,965* 7% PST= $1958.

 

That is, on average in Vancouver, if you pay $27,965 you can save $1958 as an incentive. Savings vary by city in British Columbia.

 

To get an accurate cost estimation for your BC home, you should contact a solar service contractor. They will provide you with all the relevant information about the cost that you need to consider before installing a solar system.

 

Regional solar incentives:

 

If you are a Nanaimo or Lantzville resident of British Columbia, you will receive rebates of $250 to install a solar PV system. To get $400 as renewable energy system installation rebates, you will need a development variance permit. So, when you submit your form for rebates don’t forget to include the permission document.

 

 

Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant in Vancouver:

 

If your home was built before 1940 or is registered at Vancouver Heritage, you will be eligible to receive rebates up to $14,000 for making an energy-efficient home. You can easily leverage this incentive to make the move to a solar home.

 

 

Are there any incentives available in BC for Electric vehicle (EV) users?

 

BC Hydro collaborates with Fortis BC and the Government of British Columbia to provide provincial incentives for purchasing EV chargers and installing the infrastructure to make our homes and offices EV friendly.

 

If you have a duplex or townhouse with a dedicated parking slot or private garage, you are eligible for rebates. With this rebate, you can cover around 50% of your level 2 EV charger purchasing and installation cost. As a single-family homeowner, your maximum rebate amount will be $350.

 

If you are a resident of an apartment or condo building, you have two provincial rebate options.

 

Choosing the standalone EV charger rebate option, you will get up to $2000 per charger as a rebate. A maximum of $14,000 you can receive to purchase and install a level 2 networked EV charger in your residential parking spots.

 

Selecting EV ready rebates, you will receive up to $3,000 for EV ready plan, $600 per parking space (maximum $80,000) for EV charging infrastructure installation and $1,400 per charger (maximum $14,000) to purchase and install.

 

If you want to set up an EV charging station in your workplace for your employee, you will be eligible for rebates up to $2000 per charger purchase and installation. You need to get approval from BC Hydro before purchasing and installing the EV charger.

 

If your organization has several workplaces at different locations in BC, you can submit a maximum of four applications of EV charging for your workplaces.

 

Other energy subsidies that do not particularly apply to solar panel installations are available from a variety of institutions in British Columbia. For more information on other BC energy efficiency subsidies click here

 

If the initial installation cost is the only thing preventing you from adopting solar, let me assure you that it is no longer an issue. British Columbia is the only province that is providing PST Tax Exemption for installing solar energy in your home or workplace. You will also be financed by several government and non-government organizations.  With the assistance of these solar finances, incentives, and rebates, you can install solar homes, or offices at a comparatively low cost. So, install solar systems and take advantage of the various available rebates and incentives in British Columbia.

 

If you are a British Columbia resident and thinking of installing a solar system on your property, you can contact Empower Energy Corp. Our solar solution services are available for all residential, commercial, institutional, Indigenous, and municipal buildings in B.C. Our expert solar advisor will help you design and install a suitable solar home or workplace.

 

Do you find this article useful? Please leave us your feedback. For further queries, you can email at sales@empowerenergy.ca.