BANFF – Banff councillors have used their power to increase the municipal rebate cap for rooftop solar panels.
On Monday (April 12), council increased the up-front rebate cap from $5,625 to $15,000 – $750 per kilowatt array up to 20 kilowatts – to encourage more businesses to take part in the solar photovoltaic (PV) incentive program.
“This will hopefully entice or encourage commercial property owners, so with larger roofs, to participate and install larger arrays,” said Michael Hay, the Town of Banff’s manager of environment and sustainability.
“The $750/kW rebate will be retained. Instead of capping that at $5,625 for a 7.5/kW array, it increases the cap so that they’ll get $750/kW all the way up to a 20 kW array.”
Banff’s solar PV incentive program was established in 2015, which was initially an electricity production-based incentive.
In 2017, the Town of Banff switched to an up-front, lump sum rebate model, which is paid upon completion of a new solar array.
Participation was strong in 2017 and 2018, in part due to a matching rebate from the province under the former NDP government of $750/kW array, bringing total rebates available of $1,500.
The UCP government scrapped the rebate after they were elected.
“We have seen quite low, actually virtually no participation, in the solar PV rebate program in the last couple of years,” Hay said.
“It’s perfectly understandable in 2020, I think, but in the latter part of 2018 and throughout 2019, it would have been good to see better participation.”
Solar PV rebate expenses are funded by the Town of Banff’s environmental reserve, which has a current unallocated balance of $1.15 million.
Mayor Karen Sorensen said it will be interesting to see if increasing the cap will generate more interest.
“If we don’t, then maybe another change in the future,” she said.