A federal subsidy program aimed at increasing solar hot water systems in the Capital Region expires this month.
A total of 81 residents and businesses received subsidies between $2,500 and $4,000 through the Solar CRD program, a program that began in Colwood in 2011 and was later rolled out across the region.
Depending on the size of the system, Solar CRD covered approximately a third of the cost of a solar hot water system, while commercial subsidies went up to $25,000 per application.
Solar CRD’s grant program ends March 31. But March 20 was the deadline to have the solar hot water system installed, functioning and licensed in order to ensure timely processing and payment of the Solar CRD incentives, according to a program spokesperson.
“We had enough money for 100 residential subsidies and reached 81. So, for the most part, we’re happy with the success,” said Solar CRD’s Glen Harris, senior manager with the CRD’s environmental protection. “We also had a few commercial installations which we’re thrilled about.”
At this point, there has been no discussion of extending or re-creating the program, though Harris pointed out the CRD’s Tap by Tap program has expanded to provide multi-unit buildings with up to 3,000 units with free water and energy saving fixtures, such as shower heads and faucet aerators.
Those low-flow fixtures have helped reduce water use in the region, but the level of residential solar energy falls squarely on those willing to pay the start-up costs.