What is the Residential and Commercial Solar Program?

• It is an initial $36-million program that will offer incentives on installed rooftop solar PV units on residential and commercial buildings.
• Homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations will receive incentives for rooftop solar panels that meet program requirements starting today, June 21, 2017.
• Incentives will be retroactive to April 15, 2017 for eligible installations.
• This program is just one more example of Alberta embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy, which will make life more affordable, create good jobs and help diversify our economy.

How many jobs in the solar industry will be supported as a result of this program?

• The program is expected to support the creation of 900 jobs in Phase 1 (2017-2019).

What GHG reductions can Albertans expect from this program?

• For the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, we anticipate total GHG reductions of half a million tonnes in Phase 1 (2017-2019) – the equivalent of taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

How much will this program reduce solar installation costs for Albertans?

• This program is expected to cut solar installation costs by up to 30 per cent for residences, and up to 25 per cent for businesses and non-profit organizations.

How much solar energy do you anticipate will be generated from this program?

• The Residential and Commercial Solar Program is expected to result in 48 to 53 MW of installed capacity, with a range of 5,050 to 10,700 installed systems, depending on system sizes and market prices.

Who can participate in the program?

  • Solar can be installed on residential, commercial, or non-profit locations anywhere in Alberta with electricity service. Projects that are eligible for another provincial solar program are not eligible for this program.
  • Other provincial solar programs include:
    • The Alberta Municipal Solar Program (projects on municipal buildings or non-profits residing on municipal property)
    • The On-Farm Solar PV Program (any Site ID with a farm rate class)
    • The Indigenous Solar Program (First Nation communities, Metis Settlements and the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation, and Indigenous-led organizations, including Friendship Centres and Indigenous community-owned businesses.
    • Points of contact for these programs are:

What are the eligibility criteria for incentives?

  • This program is available for solar installations within Alberta that meet the following requirements:
    • Interconnection Agreement received on or after April 15th, 2017.
    • The system must be grid connected in accordance with Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation
    • The system must not be eligible for the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP), the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program, On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics Program, or any other provincial solar incentive program that may follow.
    • The applicant must not have received an incentive for a solar PV system on the same parcel/property under this program or another provincial solar incentive program.
    • Combined incentives from government programs must not exceed 100% of eligible system cost.
    • The applicant must own the property or have long-term rights to the property.
    • The system must be designed and installed by a qualified installer (not self-installed) using CSA approved panels and components

Some Albertans have already installed solar systems. Is this program retroactive?

  • Yes, this program will be retroactive for systems within Alberta that received interconnection approval on or after April 15, 2017.

Is there a qualified contractor list, like in some other jurisdictions?

  • Only contractors who are members of the Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) or the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) are qualified to participate, to ensure consumer protection and adherence to business codes of conduct.
  • Participants must choose an installer from the dropdown list in the application portal which includes these companies.

How do Albertans apply for the program?

  • Starting on June 21, 2017, applications for the program can be completed online at the program web portal on www.efficiencyalberta.ca/solar
  • You should first select a solar installer and obtain a detailed quote. From there, either you or the solar installer can complete the application form online at www.efficiencyalberta.ca/solar

When can consumers begin applying for the program?

  • Consumers can begin applying for incentives online on June 21, 2017.

How will Albertans receive the incentive?

  • All incentives will be made by direct deposit.

How long will it take to receive my incentive?

  • From the time information is submitted, incentives are expected to take approximately 10-15 business days to be processed.
  • If necessary information was omitted or the form is incomplete, processing may be delayed.
  • Energy Efficiency Alberta recommends submitting an online application to help ensure the process moves quickly.

Can the incentive be paid upfront?

  • The incentive is paid only when the project is completed, interconnection approval is granted, a bidirectional meter is installed, and the project is energized.

Can I check on the status of my application?

How will updates be communicated?

  • Updates will be posted on efficiencyalberta.ca and also communicated through the website’s newsletter.
  • If there are any changes, customers will be given ample notice before those changes take effect.

How will my private information be handled?

  • The minimum amount of information is collected in order to process the incentive payment.
  • Private information is collected via an encrypted connection between the customer’s computer and the program manager’s Canadian-based server.
  • It is encrypted before being stored on the server, and no paper copies of the application are maintained by the program manager.

Do I have to be connected to the grid to qualify?

  • Yes. All systems must be grid connected and compliant with the Government of Alberta’s Micro-generation Regulation (AR27/2008).

You mentioned that systems must be built using eligible equipment. How will I know if my components are approved? Am I limited to specific kinds of solar panels?

  • Requirements on equipment standards and eligibility are available on www.efficiencyalberta.ca/solar.
  • System components must meet the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) requirements for electrical safety, or equivalent certification to applicable Canadian standards.

I want to ensure that I qualify for the incentive before I purchase any products. Is there a way to do that?

  • Yes, customers may opt for pre-approval via www.efficiencyalberta.ca
  • Pre-approval is optional, and allows customers/contractors to submit a list of planned products for purchase to ensure they qualify for the incentive and find out how much the incentive would be.

What products will be incentivized?

  • The following expenses will be included in calculating the maximum payable incentive:
    • expenses for the purchase of the solar PV equipment for the project (i.e. solar PV modules, racking, inverters, transformer (if any), cabling, conduit, fittings, disconnects and monitoring interface);
    • expenses for the design, development, energy modelling, engineering (structural, electrical, civil, geotechnical), specification, procurement, and construction of the project;
    • expenses for obtaining the required electrical permit and grid-connected approvals, and any required building and development permits;
    • expenses for completing the required electrical inspection and building inspection for the project; and
    • Expenses borne by the applicant for transmission and distribution system upgrades necessary to obtain interconnection approval.
  • Expenses that are ineligible for reimbursement through the Residential and Commercial Solar Program include:
    • Goods and Services Tax (GST);
    • expenses for the operation and maintenance of a project;
    • lease payment expenses incurred after the project is energized;
    • expenses incurred by the applicant to complete the Residential and Commercial Solar Program Application;
    • expenses incurred by the applicant to prepare documents, process invoices, or other administrative and internal costs; and
    • any other expense deemed by Energy Efficiency Alberta to be ineligible.

Will [example product] be included in the program?

  • All inverters and panels used in the program must have CSA or equivalent Canadian certification approval.

What is the average overall cost to install a solar system?

  • Solar PV installation costs vary considerably, and are largely dependent on the system size (larger systems benefit from economies of scale), and geographical location (installation costs may vary in different parts of the province, from one solar installer to another).
    • For example, installation costs can vary anywhere from $2/watt for larger systems to $3.50/watt for smaller household systems.
    • We recommend contacting local solar providers to get pricing information.
    • The Solar Energy Society of Alberta provides a directory of Alberta solar providers on their webpage. You can visit https://solaralberta.ca/directory/alberta-solar-providers.

Given the higher costs for solar installations, do you think Albertans will take advantage of this program?

  • Technical and public engagement as part of Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel’s work between July and October 2016 indicated a high demand for small scale renewable energy programming in Alberta from residential consumers, community co-ops, and commercial entities.
  • This program is the direct result of what the Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel heard from Albertans.
  • Thanks to initiatives such as the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program, Alberta Municipal Solar Program and On-Farm Solar PV Program, solar uptake has doubled in the province since 2015.

Our business can’t afford the products, even with the incentive. Will financing be offered?

  • Unfortunately, at this time Energy Efficiency Alberta does not offer a financing program. However, Energy Efficiency Alberta’s program offerings will grow and change over time, so please check back regularly or sign up for our online newsletter to hear about future programs.
  • If an installed system is leased or financed through a third-party solar contractor, it may still be eligible for the program.

Do the components need to have a warranty?

  • Yes, all modules must have at least a 20 year pro-rated manufacturer’s warranty; and the system’s inverter(s) and/or micro-inverter(s) must have at least a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty.

Are there incentive caps/limits for the program? What’s the maximum?

  • All consumers receive an incentive of $0.75/watt up to a maximum percentage of eligible system costs.
    • Residential:

The incentive rate is $0.75/W for systems up to 15 kW in size.

Incentive limits are 30 per cent of eligible system costs OR $10,000 – whichever is lower.

    • Commercial/Non-profit:

The incentive rate is $0.75/W for systems up to 5 MW in size. Incentive limits are maximum coverage of 25 per cent of eligible system costs, OR $500,000 – whichever is lower.

How were the incentive levels chosen?

  • Incentive levels went through extensive modelling by Inclime Solutions Inc., Energy Efficiency Alberta and a third party consultant, Dunsky Energy Consulting.

How many installations will the program’s initial $36 million cover?

  • Over a two year period, the current funding buckets will cover:


Customer Segment

Estimated Number of Installed Systems

Resulting Installed Capacity


5,000 to 10,000

28 MW


50 to 700

20 to 25 MW

5050 to 10,700

48 to 53 MW

Note: The relationship between the number of systems, the total incentives delivered and the generation capacity installed may vary due to market solar PV system prices and the sizes of systems installed by participants.  The above ranges represent the projected potential uptake rates within the total incentive budgets for both the Residential and Commercial programs.  It will be the responsibility of the implementing contractor to establish a program delivery approach that supports systems of appropriate sizes, and achieves significant generation capacity.

What will the Residential and Commercial Solar Program cost the province?

  • The program will provide $36 million in incentives between 2017 and 2019 (Phase 1), plus administrative costs, which are being determined via a competitive RFP process.
  • The Phase One program evaluation will inform Phase Two, the next three years of the program.

Where did funding for this program come from?

  • Revenue from the carbon levy provides the funds for incentives and incentives for families and communities to invest in energy-saving products, solar panels and retrofits of homes and buildings.

How is the $36 million broken down? How are incentives disbursed?

  • Incentives will be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis as applications are received and processed by the program delivery contractor (if the applicant meets eligibility criteria).
  • Although there is not a strict allocation of funds between the residential sector and the commercial and non-profit sector, we project that it will be broken down as follows:
    • $21 million toward the residential sector.
    • $15 million toward the commercial and non-profit sector.
  • Additional administrative costs are being determined via an open and competitive RFP process.

How long will the Residential and Commercial Solar Program run for?

  • Five years total.
  • Funding is $36 million (plus administrative costs) over two years (Phase 1), with program evaluation after the first two years to inform the next three years (Phase 2).

Can the funding run out? What if incentives run out before the end of Phase 1?

  • Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The program will be tracked and monitored at regular intervals to inform the path forward. We will make adjustments as needed before we move into Phase 2.

How much electricity can I generate from my solar PV system?

  • According to Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation, you can install enough solar modules to produce up to 100 per cent of your net annual energy consumption; however, other factors, like available roof space, may also limit the size of your PV system.

How much will the Residential and Commercial Solar Program compensate me for exporting excess electricity to the grid?

  • The Residential and Commercial Solar Program provides an incentive for the installation of solar PV systems, not for the production of electricity. Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation, however, outlines how micro-generators are compensated for sending excess electricity to the grid:
      • Small micro-generators (systems under 150 kilowatts) are credited for the electricity sent back to the grid on a monthly basis at their retail rates. For example, if you pay 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, you will be credited at 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.
      • Large micro-generators (systems 150 kilowatts and above), are credited for the electricity sent back to the grid at the hourly wholesale market price.

How much can consumers expect to get back as a result of this program?

  • The Residential and Commercial Solar Program will reduce system costs by up to 30 per cent for residential consumers, and up to 25 per cent for commercial consumers.
  • The programs will use a prescriptive approach where fixed per-Watt incentives are provided to participants who install systems that qualify under the provincial Micro-Generation Regulation.
    • Residential customers will be provided with an incentive rate of $0.75 per Watt for systems up to 15 kW in size. For residential customers, incentives will be limited to 30% of eligible system costs OR $10,000, whichever is lower.
    • Commercial and non-profit customers will be provided with an incentive rate of $0.75 per Watt for systems up to 5 MW in size. For commercial and non-profit customers, incentives will be limited to 25% of eligible system costs OR $500,000 – whichever is lower.
  • For example, for an average 5kW household system:

5kW=5000 watts

Incentive level= 0.75/watt (up to the lesser of 30% of eligible system costs or $10,000)

Incentive= 5000 watts * $0.75/watt

Incentive= $3,750

Who is delivering the program? Do they have experience running programs like this?

  • InClime Solutions was selected to deliver the program using an open, competitive RFP process.
  • InClime Solutions Inc. is the Canadian subsidary of InClime, a leading solar leading solar program management company.
  • InClime and the InClime team have been helping launch and run solar incentive programs since 2008.
  • They currently run renewable or energy efficiency programs in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Missouri as well as the Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

What is the purpose of hiring a program delivery contractor?

  • The Request for Proposals ensures that detailed program design and delivery occurs in an effective and prompt manner on behalf of Energy Efficiency Alberta by hiring an expert program delivery contractor.
  • In this case, it procures the services of experts in the field of program implementation for small scale renewable energy projects to help Energy Efficiency Alberta build a renewable energy services industry in the province.
  • Hiring a program delivery contractor will enable Albertans to commence solar projects that they have patiently been waiting to implement.

What if I’m misinformed about incentive details by my contractor?

  • The consequences are similar to misquotes on work.
  • Energy Efficiency Alberta and Inclime Inc. will not be responsible for program misrepresentation by contractors. A remedy should be sought between the contractor and the applicant.

You mentioned that systems must be installed by a “qualified installer” – what does that mean? Do they need to be registered or certified?

  • Self-installed solar photovoltaic systems will not be eligible for this program.
  • Photovoltaic systems must be installed by qualified workers. Solar installers are licensed electricians that have taken additional training in order to understand, design, and install solar PV systems.
    • In Alberta, installers must be certified electricians, or registered apprentices working under the supervision of a certified electrician, that comply with the Electrician Trade Regulation 274/2000 and Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, and any applicable trade regulations.
    • Some electricians have additional solar-specific certification via CSA, CSI, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, NAIT Renewable Energy Program, etc. This is not required of your installer, but electricians with such certification are available in Alberta should you wish to hire one.
  • www.solaralberta.ca and www.cansia.ca are excellent resources to find solar providers and learn more about solar installation.


Why can’t I install the system myself?

  • Self-installed solar photovoltaic systems will not be eligible for this program.
  • A qualified installer-led program is the best way to ensure the work completed meets safety regulations, code expectations and industry best practices.

How do contractors/suppliers participate?

  • Contractors who are members of the Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) or the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) are automatically qualified to participate.

Do contractors need to take training to participate in this program?

  • No, but training sessions will be offered both in-person and via webinar throughout the province.
  • A list of upcoming training sessions and downloads of webinars will be available at efficiencyalberta.com/solar.
  • Contractors are more than welcome to and encouraged to independently obtain additional renewable energy or solar PV system certification or additional training to provide their clients with the best service.

How can contractors/suppliers make this work for customers?

  • Contractors and suppliers are encouraged to include the details of this program when quoting projects for their customers.
  • Contractors can also reduce the initial outlay for their customers by taking advantage of the option to have the incentive paid directly to them when the project is complete.
  • Contractors are encouraged to keep up to date on the program to knowledgably inform their potential clients and develop better business cases for the addition of a solar PV system to their potential clients’ property.

I'm an installer. Can I provide my customer a discount on their invoice and then collect the incentive myself?

  • Yes. The application has the option for a customer to sign the incentive over to the contractor. If this option is selected, both the customer and the contractor must sign an allocation form acknowledging the amount of the payment and that the payment will go to the contractor.


Are apartments/condos able to apply for the program?

  • Single and multi-family homes are eligible.
  • Landlords can apply to the program as a single commercial application.
  • Condo corporations who are incorporated as a non-profit organization are eligible.

Do federally-owned buildings qualify?

  • No, federally-owned buildings do not qualify for this program.

Are co-ops eligible for the incentive?

  • Yes.

Are farms or food processing plants eligible for the incentive?

  • The Government of Alberta currently offers energy efficiency and renewable energy programs targeting the farming/agricultural sector.
  • We strongly encourage you to review those programs before committing to this program, as the incentives may be more applicable to you.
  • You can visit www.growingforward.alberta.ca for more information.
  • Customers who participate in one program will not qualify for incentives from another government-funded program for the same project.

We do not own our space. Can we still participate in the program?

  • The owner of the property where the solar array is located must approve the application.

Do municipal buildings qualify for the incentive?

  • The Alberta Municipal Solar Program may be of interest to you.
  • We strongly encourage you to review this program before committing to the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, as the incentives may be more applicable.
  • You can learn more at www.mccac.ca.
  • Customers who participate in one program will not qualify for incentives from another government-funded program for the same project.

I took part in the On-Farm Solar PV Program or the Alberta Municipal Solar Program. Am I eligible for the Residential and Commercial Solar Program?

  • Customers who participate in one program will not qualify for incentives from another government-funded program for the same project.

You mentioned micro-generation – what is that?

  • Micro-generation is the production of electricity on a small-scale, using renewable and alternative energy sources, typically solar and wind, by individual home owners and small businesses, as well as municipal and community buildings to meet their electricity needs.
  • Micro-generation systems are sized to offset all or a portion of the customer’s electricity needs.

What is the Alberta’s Micro-generation Regulation? How does it impact my participation in the Residential and Commercial Solar Program?

  • In order to qualify for an incentive, applicants must be an approved micro-generator under Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation.
  • On December 21 2016, government updated the rules around micro-generation, increasing the size limit of a system from one megawatt to five megawatts. This means that Albertans have more flexibility and capacity to generate their own green electricity.
    • The Micro-Generation Regulation, established in 2008, allows Albertans to meet their own electricity needs by generating electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources.
      • Under the regulation, micro-generators receive credits for the excess electricity that they produce and export back to the grid.

Where can I find information on solar technology, Alberta solar installers, or information on existing provincial solar programs in Alberta?

  • There are multiple resources available online, including:

Are there employment opportunities in the renewable energy or solar industries?

  • Energy efficiency programs are among the lowest cost ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will create roughly 50 jobs for every $1 million invested.
  • Energy efficiency programs will create jobs in construction and energy services, and grow future-ready industries such as solar generation.
  • Part of the mandate for Energy Efficiency Alberta is to promote the energy efficiency and community energy services industry in Alberta so it is anticipated there will be employment in many different areas of this emerging field.

Are condo/apartment complex owners eligible for the program?

  • Yes; however, to be eligible, program participants must have ownership of the property’s roof.

Can I access this program if I have a farm?

  • Agriculture and Forestry has an on-farm solar program that is targeted to farms. Information about this program can be accessed at Agriculture and Forestry’s On-Farm Solar PV Program http://www.growingforward.alberta.ca/Programs. 
  • The Residential and Commercial Solar program is available to applicants who have not received an incentive for a solar PV system on the same parcel/property under the program.
  • The highly successful On-Farm Solar PV program is designed to support farmers.  We are continuing to assess interest in this program and if it’s over-subscribed we will consider adding additional resources after evaluating the results of the first year.

Can a school board, school, rec centre, etc. apply to this program?

  • We encourage interested applicants in the municipal, university, school and hospital sectors to examine eligibility under the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (http://www.mccac.ca/programs/AMSP) before applying for this program.
  • Those already funded under provincial solar programming will not be eligible for this incentive.

Why are we doing a capital cost incentive program?

  • During the engagement process led by the Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel, we heard that one of the biggest barriers to small-scale solar adoption is the upfront capital cost.

What does solar photovoltaic mean?

  • Albertans may hear solar panels referred to as “solar photovoltaic” systems. This is simply the scientific term for the cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity.

What is a residential solar photovoltaic system?

  • Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity.
  • Individual PV cells are interconnected to form solar modules, which are usually installed on the roof of the home.
  • Inverters convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the solar modules into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used for most appliances in our homes.
  • A meter is required to record how much energy you’ve consumed from the grid, and how much you’ve exported back into the grid. These meters, called bi-directional meters are supplied free of charge by your Wire Service Provider.

How do I know if solar PV is right for my home?

  • There are a number of factors that impact a PV system’s performance, including:
    • Is your roof south facing? Does your roof receive direct sunlight with limited shading? Is your roof in satisfactory condition? Can your roof be accessed for installation and maintenance?
  • It’s important to have a discussion with a solar service provider to determine if a PV system is the right choice for your home.

Why is Alberta a good place for solar PV?

  • According to Natural Resources Canada, Alberta has one of the best solar resources in Canada.
  • The following chart compares the solar resource potential in various municipalities in Canada and internationally. It is of note that Calgary (with a potential of 1292 kWh/kW) has a greater solar resource potential than Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (with a potential of 1253 kWh/kW), assuming south facing panels with a latitude tilt.
Major Canadian cities and capitals

Major cities worldwide


Yearly PV potential (kWh/kW)

Regina (Saskatchewan)


Calgary (Alberta)


Winnipeg (Manitoba)


Edmonton (Alberta)


Ottawa (Ontario)


Montréal (Québec)


Toronto (Ontario)


Fredericton (New Brunswick)


Québec (Québec)


Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)


Yellowknife (Northwest Territories)


Victoria (British Columbia)


Halifax (Nova Scotia)


Iqaluit (Nunavut)


Vancouver (British Columbia)


Whitehorse (Yukon)


St. John’s (Newfoundland/Labrador)



Yearly PV potential (kWh/kW)

Cairo, Egypt


Capetown, South Africa


New Delhi, India


Los Angeles, U.S.A


Mexico City, Mexico


Regina, Saskatchewan


Sydney, Australia


Rome, Italy


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Ottawa, Canada


Beijing, China


Washington, D.C., U.S.A.


Paris, France


St. John’s, Newfoundland/Labrador


Tokyo, Japan


Berlin, Germany


Moscow, Russia


London, England