A sunny outlook

Solar programs promise a bright future for Alberta residents and businesses

Only 24 hours after announcing the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, 130 accounts were set up on Energy Efficiency Alberta’s web portal. After 36 hours, Albertans had made their interest apparent with over 200 accounts created.

EEA’s Solar program offers rebates of up to 30 per cent to homeowners, and 25 per cent to businesses and non-profits that install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Albertans work with solar contractors to guide them through the process, installation and rebate submission. The immediate demand for the program has been keeping solar contractors busy since the first program announcement.

Dave, chief operating officer at SkyFire Energy—an Alberta residential and commercial solar design and installation contractor—explains that the demand is having some immediate impacts on the business.

“We’ve been very busy. During both of the major announcements surrounding the program, the response was…overwhelming. We normally try to respond to inquiries very quickly, within 24 hours, but the first few days following those announcements there was just very significant interest.”

Dave says that SkyFire has hired 9 people since the program launch to keep up with the demand.

“There’s no question that there’s an appetite for solar in Alberta. We’re a province that, in my opinion, understands energy. Calgary and Edmonton have a lot of technical people that work in engineering, the trades, or oil and gas, and they’re more in-tune with energy than people in other jurisdictions might be. That, in addition to our really great solar resource, makes people keen on applying for solar programs. Interest in solar is something that bridges all types of people.”

Contractors are an essential part of EEA’s Solar Program, working directly with Albertans and helping to educate clients about how the program works, how the systems operate, the economic benefit, the advantages and the disadvantages, etc.

Dave says participating in this program as a contractor has been a good experience.

“Working with EEA has been absolutely awesome, and I’m not just saying that. The way the online portal is structured and the speed at which applications are processed is incredible.”

In this program, contractors can submit applications for homeowners and business owners to help make the process easier, and Dave sees this as a good thing.

“In some other programs, the communication has to go through the homeowner or the business owner, and it often slows the process down. We can really control the projects and make things happen properly through this program.”