PEI

P.E.I. announces details of solar panel assistance

A combined P.E.I./federal government program to provide financial assistance for installing solar panels will become available in August.

'Solar energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 500 tonnes annually'

The program could cover up to 40 per cent of the cost of solar panel installation. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

A combined P.E.I./federal government program to provide financial assistance for installing solar panels will become available in August.

The program will provide a rebate of up to 40 per cent of the cost of installing solar panels, up to $10,000.

"Solar energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 500 tonnes annually while helping people become more energy independent," said Energy Minister Steven Myers.

High installation costs

Solar panels take sunlight and convert it into energy that people can use to power their homes. Matt Eye with M.B. Eye Electrical said it often means a significantly lower electricity bill.

"The sun is up. It's free energy. We're collecting it in solar panels and pumping it into the home and when it's not needed in the home, it's going to Maritime Electric as a credit," Eye said.

But while the system can save users money in the long term, Eye said installing solar panels can cost up to $40,000.

Myers said the hope is that with the new rebate program, more Islanders will be willing to pay the upfront cost and make the switch.

"We want to make sure people are taking us up on this. If they're not, we'll find out why and find out what the limiting factors are, but at this point I think this is a really good opportunity for people."

Rebates won't be retroactive

Islanders can apply for rebates beginning Aug. 7, but the program won't be retroactive for anyone who installed panels before then, including Mark Booth.

Booth already made the investment to have a solar system installed on his property earlier this year. He said he was happy to make the change but less than happy to hear he wouldn't be reaping any benefits of the new program.

While he's happy to have made the investment in solar panels, Mark Booth says he's frustrated that Islanders who had systems installed before Aug. 7 won't be able to take part in the rebate program. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"I'm very frustrated," Booth said. "You're trying to do the best for yourselves and for other people and have some kind of a social conscious and you get penalized for it."

Myers said it was unfortunate the rebates won't be retroactive, but hopes anyone who has been waiting to install panels on their homes don't have to wait any longer.

The provincial and federal governments have set aside $2 million for the program, each contributing 50 per cent of the money. The province announced $500,000 for solar incentives in the budget.

The program is being administered by Efficiency PEI. The province is also making financing available through Finance PEI.

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