Alberta announced a new Residential and Commercial Solar rebate program on February 27, funded with $36 million from revenues from the province’s carbon levy. The government estimates that the program will stimulate up to 900 jobs in the solar sector, while reducing GHG emissions and cutting installation costs for residences by 30 per cent and for businesses and non-profits by 25 per cent. In combination with a December 2016 change to the Micro-generation Regulation , which increased the allowable capacity of micro-generation systems to five megawatts, the rebate program is meant especially to encourage solar commercial and community operations . The Pembina Institute reaction highlights the aspect of microgeneration and distributed energy; DeSmog Blog gives more details and context about the overall growth of solar in Alberta. Iron and Earth , the workers’ organization promoting the transition from oil and gas to renewables, calls the announcement a “great first step” on their Facebook page , and notes their previous call to the Alberta government for increased access to solar skills training programs.
On Febrary 28, the government issued an invitation for Albertans to register for a Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program , encouraging all households, regardless of income, to upgrade to more energy-efficient products, including LED lights, high efficiency shower heads, and smart thermostats. Installation and product costs will be borne by the province and financed, again, through carbon levy revenues.
Finally, on March 3, Alberta announced matched funding of $10 million from the province and the federal government for a Calgary-based Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC) . The facility will “test breakthrough technologies that convert CO2 from harmful emissions into applications for everyday use.” It will be owned and operated by InnoTech Alberta , a subsidiary of Alberta Innovates; the goal is to support “Alberta-based technology developers, as well as attracting global companies and world-class researchers to the province”. The Pembina Institute calls it “a plug and play technology sandbox” and “an excellent way to create partnerships and accelerate our learning with respect to new technologies, in order to develop emissions solutions and create economic opportunities.” The Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance also approves. The investment follows a February 13 meeting to expand and renew the Alberta – Canada Collaboratory on Clean Energy Research and Technology Memorandum of Understanding.