What is Solar City 2.0?

If you’re a Halifax or HRM property owner and missed out on the pilot program, this might be of interest to you. Halifax’s Solar City program is back with Solar City 2.0. After a successful pilot program, the program was approved for a further 3 years, with a few subtle changes. Property owners now have a choice of three solar collection technologies, including solar PV, solar hot air, and/or solar thermal.

Solar City 2.0 aims to complete 450 installations of a variety of solar technologies annually.

Who’s eligible?

To be considered an eligible participant to register, you must be a property owner who is either the owner of a private property or a property owner who is incorporated as a co-op or not for profit.

  • Property owners’ accounts must be in ‘good standing’ with the municipality to participate in the Solar City program.
  • Property is in good standing with respect to property taxes and utility bills
  • Property Owner is willing to complete Solar Energy Assessment and accept the Terms and Conditions of participating the program

How does it work?

UPDATED March 2018

The Solar City program involves a voluntary financing application where the property owner enters into an agreement with the municipality to access funds that offset the capital costs of installing solar energy systems on their property. The municipality places a voluntary Local Improvement Charge (LIC) on the property after the solar contractor is paid at the end of the project. The LIC is an additional annual charge and is separate from the property owner’s annual property tax bill. This LIC mechanism is described in detail in Solar City Bylaw S-500 [PDF].

The LIC payments are made over a period of 10 years at a fixed interest rate (4.75%) with the option for the property owner to pay the balance in full and subsequently remove the lien at any time without penalty. The LIC obligation is attached to the property and will be required to be paid in full at the time of sale if there is an ownership change in the property.

What systems can be installed?

The new program will offer property owners a choice of three solar technology options:

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

gtpv-buttonGenerates electricity when the sun is shining. This technology requires a net metering or interconnection agreement with Nova Scotia Power. Read more about Grid-Tied Solar on our website here, or see some of our completed projects here.

Solar Air

sha-buttonReduces energy costs associated with space heating. This technology preheats air in a space to supplement daytime heating requirements. It works best installed on south facing walls and is controlled with temperature set points. Read more about Solar Hot Air on our website here.

Solar Hot Water

solarhotwater-buttonReduces energy costs of heating hot water. This technology preheats water to supplement other other energy sources and can be applied to all water-based preheating needs like swimming pools, space heating and domestic hot water. Read more about Solar Hot Water on our website here.

Who can install it?

New for Solar City 2.0, property owners will be able to individually select their desired solar system and service providers for assessments and installations.

According to Solar City’s website, after the Property Owner has received confirmation of eligibility for funding as part of the program, they will then select a Solar Contractor of their choice to complete a detailed solar energy assessment. The HRM is not responsible for selecting a contractor on behalf of Property Owners, and it is solely the responsibility of the Property Owner to follow best practices while selecting a reputable contractor to complete the work.

Solar City 2.0 recommends that the Property Owner obtain three (3) quotes, choose a reputable contractor with third party liability insurance and a portfolio of completed work.

Ready to start?

Register as a property owner on Solar City’s website here (link updated March 2018).

Further resources:

Halifax Solar Map & Solar Monitoring Map

UPDATE: Since the time of this posting, these links are no longer available and have been removed.

Find the Solar Potential of your Property (HRM only) The mapping project displayed is the product of an academic research project. The map as shown is for information purposes only.