Proposed cut of Solar City progam worries companies
The move to kill Halifax's Solar City program is worrying people in the industry who have already spent money on the project.
Peter Allen, president of Thermo Dynamics Ltd. in Dartmouth, is one of the companies that could get badly burned if the solar project falls through.
"It would be a severe body blow. We went ahead in good faith purchasing the raw materials, manufacturing the finished product – all done here," Allen said.
The manufacturer of solar heating equipment won the competition to supply the Solar City project, which was originally supposed to start in the spring.
The city spent two years promoting a pilot project to put 700 solar panels on homes across the city.
Last Friday, HRM staff changed its mind on Solar City, recommending city council scrap the project, arguing the recently created Efficiency Nova Scotia was better suited to run the program.
But Efficiency Nova Scotia is not commenting on the city's move to drag it into taking over. At this point, its commitment ends with a $1,250 grant per system.
Staff also argued that for homeowners, a $700 annual financing cost would exceed $330 in annual energy savings.
Allen told CBC News that the estimated $330 savings is at the lowest end of the savings spectrum.
"In our estimation, the savings range from a low of $330 to an high of $700 or $800 per year," Allen said, "That's this year, when we have some escalation in fuel oil costs and electricity costs. Those savings will go up."
In the meantime, Thermo Dynamics, which was expecting council to ratify its deal with the city, is now fighting to save it.
On Tuesday night, city council will be urged to continue the program.
On Friday CBC News obtained a letter from Energy Minister Charlie Parker, offering support from the Department of Energy to help to keep the project afloat.
The Department of Energy is offering a low-cost financing option but when CBC News asked them exactly how that would work, no one was able clarify.