A Halifax-area program that helps homeowners use solar power to heat water is seeing a record uptake and is having a positive effect on conservation, the city says.

The civic program pays the $6,000 to $8,000 to install panels on the roof and tanks in the house. Homeowners then pay the full amount back to HRM over a decade via increased property taxes.

In the last eight months, 120 families in metro have made the installations

“I could safely say it's [saved] hundreds of dollars already. [I feel] totally elated,” said Jessica von Handorf of the High Hopes Housing Co-op in Halifax.

She’ll tally up the full savings after a year has passed.

Huge environmental impact

Julian Boyle, head of HRM’s Solar City Program, said the success is widespread.

“We're really pleased on a lot of different fronts about the way the program's running right now,” he said.

“The environmental impact is about 200,000 kilograms of CO2 reduction so far. There's also a water conservation effort embedded within the program."

He said more than 30 million litres of water will be reduced annually through the program.

HRM wants to expand the program and the concept. A new subdivision, for example, could orient homes toward the sun to improve solar energy.