Solar City program gets boost from province
In a letter to the mayor, the provincial energy department has pledged to help Halifax Regional Municipality's ambitious solar energy project, but the offer of help may be too late.
On Friday, city staff recommended that council kill the Solar City project due to lack of funding.
In a letter obtained by CBC News dated Thursday, Energy Minister Charlie Parker, offered help to keep the project afloat.
"I believe the province has other tools at its disposal to ensure this program continues," Parker stated.
The project is designed to help up to 700 home owners install solar panels to cut down on non-renewable energy usage.
In January, HRM applied for $6 million in funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund, but was told the project did not meet the necessary guidelines.
Richard MacLellan, the manager of the city's Sustainable Environment Management Office, told CBC News in an interview two weeks ago that the HRM had revamped the application several times to get the loan from the federation, but has not had success.
Richard Vinson, Chair of Solar Nova Scotia, still hopes that HRM's ambitious solar agenda can be saved
"We know in industry, if we can hang on, that solar is going to be one of our energy solutions," Vinson said.
The province has already pledged $1 million to the project.
Counc. Jennifer Watts welcomes the support but is skeptical.
"I'm not sure (the province) is offering more financial support than what has already been indicated to HRM or whether its the type of financial support we need. I think right now we are looking for a grant," Watts said.
For Richard Vinson and the hundreds of people who signed on to Solar City, the wait continues.
"If there's a financing alternative out there that could help work as a bridge to get us where we need to be, especially with this particular project, we could do nothing but support it," Vinson said.
In the letter, Parker stated the province is offering support from the departments of energy, finance and economic development.
Parker also stated, the province is willing to help other municipalities "interested in pursuing innovative financing for solar projects."