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Costs & Incentives

If you're like most of the members of CREW, then one of the only things preventing you from having your own renewable energy system is money. In that case there's some good news. Below is a summary of some of the financial incentives available that could help you finance your project:

Net Metering

Ontario's net metering regulation allows you to send electricity generated from renewable sources to the electrical grid for a credit toward your energy costs. Your utility will subtract the value of electricity you supply to the grid from the value of what you take from the grid. What you'll see on your bill is the "net" difference between those two amounts. If you supply power that is worth more than what you take from the grid over the billing period, you'll receive a credit that can help lower future energy bills. Net Metering tends to be best suited to situations where you are confident that you'll consume all the power you generate on site.

Ontario's Feed-in Tariff (FIT and microFIT) Program

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA)'s Feed-In Tariff will pay a premium for electricity generated by renewable sources. Solar PV on your home roof can earn $0.802/kWh, on-farm wind can earn $0.135/kWh, biogas can earn up to $0.195/kWh, and there are several other options for other technologies too. There are costs and fees associated with connecting your system to the grid which will depend on your project and on which utility serves your project site. Please refer to the other pages on this website for more info on specific technologies. Go to this link for OPA FIT information - http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca.

ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentives

Home owners who are interested in saving energy prior to installing a renewable energy system should:

  1. perform a home energy audit with the Residential Energy Efficiency Project
  2. REEP will provide you with a report that describes your opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of your home, and some opportunities to install renewable energy systems. They will also provide you with more detail on how the ecoENERGY program can be used, and what rebates you could earn on your property;
  3. choose your preferred upgrade options and do your retrofit project;
  4. have REEP perform your follow-up audit, and wait for your rebate cheque;

Refer to Natural Resource Canada's ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive page for more detail. Detail on the specific financial incentives available are posted online here.

Capital Cost Allowances

Corporations who install renewable energy systems can write-off the purchase value (capital cost) of their systems as a (Federal) income tax deductible expense taken against the income they receive from generated electricity. For more information, ask your accountant about class 43.2 and class 43.3 of the Federal Income Tax Act.

"Green" Loans

Some financial institutions now offer special financial packages for energy efficiency improvements.

Alterna Savings offers a green loan to be used for energy-efficient assessments and retrofits to homes and businesses. The Alterna Green$aver Improvement Loan will provide accessible short-term financing to residential and commercial clients wanting to upgrade their homes and businesses to be more energy efficient.

Citizens Bank of Canada offers a "green mortgage" at competitive rates that are designed to increase the energy efficiency of homes and reward homeowners for doing the right thing for the environment. Each "Green Mortgage" holder in selected areas in Ontario receives a package of incentives, including a blue curb-side recycling box containing ten compact fluorescent light bulbs, a registration rebate for a Green$aver Home Energy Audit, product samples, and coupons for trees, renewable power, car-sharing, and other environmental products and services, with a retail value of over $800.

Mindscape Innovations, based in Kitchener, offers a mortgage refinancing solution that will leverage the value of your home to free up funds for a renewable energy project. If you have equity invested in a home, and are open to refinancing your mortgage, you could free up enough funds to do a renewable energy project, consolidate a car or other loan, get a rate below prime, and still end up with lower overall monthly payments than you had before. Visit Mindscape's website for more info.

For More Info

Also visit the CREW 'OUR POWER' solar website for more information and a WIKI to help answer your questions.

Check the CREW website regularly for all related news and developments in conservation and renewable energy as we work hard to help the Region of Waterloo and surrounding area GO GREEN.

For solar projects especially, please refer to the Clean Air Foundation's "Go Solar Ontario" website.

If you're not sure which incentive program might best apply to your situation then feel free to contact your local utility, or to ask derek@crewzone.ca.