Alberta is boosting its plans to go green, by adding sunny incentives for its solar programs.
Earlier this week, Alberta’ government announced $5.5 CDN million in funding for new solar programs to help municipalities and farmers to install solar PV plants.
According to PV Magazine, $5 CDN million under the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre will help fund the Alberta Municipal Solar Program. Municipalities will receive up to $0.75Cdn/watt, maxing out at $300,000 CDN per project, once a solar plant is installed on a local office building, or community center.
The government of Alberta’s new program compliments another initiative from Alberta’s Municipalities Association, which allowed many Edmonton community leagues to install solar panels and cut 55 tons of carbon emissions yearly.
Alberta farmers will also see incentives through the $500,000 CDN On-Farm Management Program. Jointly funded by Alberta’s and Canada’s Federal governments, this plan allows farmers to create their own solar power. This is an improvement on a pilot project which financially supports 61 plants, creating 500kW of clean electricity to the province’s grid, while cutting 360 tons in carbon emissions.
This new round of financing over the next quarter century will support 160 new projects and cut 8,400 tons of carbon emissions.
Alberta Environmental Minister Shannon Phillips told Global News that people need to deal with climate change at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.
Phillips also said this financing will help create economic growth, while helping Alberta transition toward cleaner electricity, and improving health.
Agricultural Minister Oneil Carlier said farmers are good protectors of the land, while also understanding innovation, which is why the solar installation program will advance farming productivity.
“The solar installation program will help increase farming efficiencies, cut power bills and greenhouse gas emissions and add to Alberta’s power grid,” Carlier added.
After 44 years of being governed by the Progressive Conservatives, The New Democratic Party swept into power last May. One of its key platform promises was to get Alberta slowly off of fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources as it attempts to diversify its economy. In November, Alberta promised sweeping climate change policy, including implementing a carbon tax (which will go to investing in clean energy), while targeting for 30% of the province’s electricity production by 2030.
As oil prices plummet, Alberta looks towards a more diversified energy economy which is less resource intensive and focuses more on technical skills. More Albertans are taking notice of renewable energy and its potential, including a one day solar energy conference held last month at Edmonton’s Northern Alberta’s Institute of Technology.
These new solar incentives are a step in the right direction.
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