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Carbon tax elimination proposal leaves Albertans awaiting solar rebates in limbo
The provincial government’s plan to do away with the carbon tax is expected to result in the termination of Alberta’s solar rebate program, to the potential detriment of the solar panel industry and those who have had panels recently installed.
Homeowners who purchased solar panels in recent weeks with the expectation that they would receive the promised rebates are currently without answers regarding whether the government will honour the previous regime’s program.
“As of this morning, the Energy Efficiency Alberta website is now closed for applications for solar rebates,” said David Kelly, CEO of SkyFire Energy, a company that designs and installs solar panel systems across Western Canada. “We’ve spoke with Energy Efficiency Alberta. They’ve exhausted their budget and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’re likely to be refinanced by the province.”
Robb Stroobant applied for the solar rebate on April 29 and was told by Energy Efficiency Alberta to proceed with the installation at his home while his rebate application was reviewed, a process that was expected to take three to five days.
In mid-May, after the installation was complete, he received a call from his solar installer informing him that his rebate was in limbo as Energy Efficiency Alberta continued to accept rebate applications in good faith but were unable to approve any applications as per a directive from the UCP government.
Stroobant says he would not have installed solar panels on his home if he knew he would not be receiving the approximately $4,600 rebate.
“Absolutely not,” said Stroobant. “I want to do my part, just like all Albertans, to help the environment and reduce carbon emissions but saving 35 per cent of the project was massive. That’s a huge reason I wanted to get it done was because (Jason) Kenney was talking about getting rid of the carbon tax.”
“Little did I know he was going to be getting rid of it retroactively.”
On Wednesday, the provincial government announced that, if passed, the repeal of the carbon tax would go into effect on May 30, 2019.
Kelly says his industry will see a big dip in business without the solar rebates and solar companies are hoping the UCP government will announce a replacement rebate program.
With files from CTV’s Jordan Kanygin